Humanities & Social Sciences



Social Sciences




Surrealist Oil Paintings and Short Stories

Anya Adorni

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jane Callister

Anya is from Santa Monica, California, and is a graduating senior Art: Studio major at UCSB. She currently resides in Bologna, Italy. Anya mainly paints in oil and watercolor, incorporating short fictional stories to accompany the visual medium, but also hopes to work with more sculptural mediums in the future.

I created surrealist oil paintings and short stories that traverse the themes of feminism, patriarchy, religion, and the human experience (related to self perception of one's place in this existence), in order to contemplate these topics and the significance of their impact. By utilizing visual and written modes of expression, I hope to enhance the experience of storytelling for the viewer. This project intends to be a hybridization of my own artistic expression and creative process, while also providing unique means for viewers to contemplate these topics within a surrealist scope, as a means to question the status quo and why we exist the way we do.


The Grimm Manor: Composition and Audio Design of and Original Roguelike Video Game

Charlie Prindle

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Curtis Roads

My name is Charlie Prindle. I am a UCSB student that is also a composer, drummer, and a writer. I am currently working on multiple projects including creating a video game with a small development team and writing a series of novels. My URCA Grant has allowed me to work on my Wwise certifications, giving me access to software for incorporating audio into video games.

My project is to research and implement randomly generated musical elements, using stochastic techniques, in an original roguelike video game within the UCSB Game Development Club as a composer and sound designer. By incorporating randomly generated musical elements into randomly generated gameplay elements, the player will have an interactive and immersive musical experience that varies on each playthrough. My presentation is an original website I created via Flipsnack. It is in essence a virtual brochure that outlines steps I have taken to develop the game. It features various pieces I have written as well as photos of concept art done by other team members and screenshots of images of the game in development. My hope is that it is educational and informative for both people familiar with music and video games and those who are unfamiliar with those art forms. The game itself is currently entitled: The Grimm Manor. It is set in a Lovecraftian manor that has been taken over by a possessed Lord in hopes of entrapping the general public in order to turn them into Lovecraftian monsters. The goal of the player is to escape the manor unharmed, lest they turn into a monster themselves.





Investigation into Portraying Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 Through Movement

Alice Lousen

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Brandon Whited

Alice Lousen is a fourth year student at UCSB studying Dance (BFA) and Environmental Studies (BA). She began training in ballet at the age of 4, and is now a part of the UCSB Dance Company on campus. Alice also grew up going camping and spending time in nature with her family. Her love of the outdoors and urgency of the current climate crisis influenced Alice to pursue Environmental Studies as well as dance at UCSB.

In my creative research, I created an interdisciplinary dance performance that visually portrays Johann Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 through movement. To achieve this, I created movement for the dancers that reflected and embodied the interconnectedness and interweaving nature of the individual instrumental parts. Melding dance and music, I strove to honor Bach’s existing musical score while creating new art within this existing framework. This music driven approach allowed me to gain knowledge of and experience with a new choreographic process that I had not attempted before. The process produced an engaging and thought-provoking piece of choreography that held true to the sensibilities found within Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2.

Imperial Ancestry: The Soviet Union's Relationship with the Past

Ryan Kenyon

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Adrienne Edgar

My name is Ryan Kenyon and I am from Sierra Madre, California. I am a fourth-year majoring in History of Public Policy and Law with a minor in Architecture and Urban History. This thesis was a combination of my two academic passions; history and architecture, and I am very pleased to share it with all who have been able to read it. After graduation, I will be working with the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles; but in the future I may pursue a doctorate in European history.

This thesis traced the evolution of the USSR’s view of their past. I explain how Soviet usage of Russian national and classical motifs in society changed. I focus on the evolving opinions toward the Romanov tsars, pre-Romanov figures, and the revival of classicist architecture in order to lend legitimacy to the state. Although some historians argue this shift was a complete rejection of internationalism, I argue it was a complementary policy enacted alongside internationalist policies. Furthermore, I challenge the notion that the rehabilitation was due to wartime mobilization, as the evidence suggests that there were other concerns forwarding the revival. The USSR’s rehabilitation and revival of their past began in 1931 as a way to gain legitimacy. This shift was not due to mass mobilization, as a way of countering the emerging threats of Imperial Japan or Nazi Germany. Rather, this shift was about pragmatism. The past served as an effective tool to unite society behind a common history, and Soviet Russian society certainly responded better to the imperial past than the unfamiliar and foreign pantheon of socialist intellectuals. The solution was the fusion of internationalist communism and Russocentric nationalism into national Bolshevism. The emergence of the Sovetskii Narod was a direct consequence of the synthesis. A key aspect of this conceptualization was imperial ancestry, which was and continues to be a familiar presence in both Soviet and modern-day Russian society.

Talkin' Shame: Mexican-American Women’s Sexual Subjectivity and Sexual Exploration in College

Diana Candelaria Sanchez

Faculty Mentor: Dr. San Juanita Garcia

Diana Sanchez is a senior at the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a double major in Chicana/o Studies and Feminist Studies expected to graduate with distinction in June 2022. She is a McNair Scholar and is currently writing her senior thesis for the Honors Program in the Department of Chicana/o Studies. Sanchez is interested in researching Mexican-American women’s journey with pleasure and sexual exploration in college. Sanchez will continue to conduct research at the graduate level in the Department of Chicana/o/x Studies at UCSB. She hopes to continue to de-stigmatize sex and pleasure through her research.

Sex is a taboo topic in sexually conservative Latina/o/x households. Avoiding these conversations, however, creates harmful and violent situations (like contracting STDs, UTIs, pregnancy, and feelings of shame). Within Mexican culture women are judged based on their sexual actions, virginity is highly valued, and unmarried sexually active women and girls are vilified (Gonzalez-Lopez, 2003, Zavella and Castañeda 2005). However, Leila Rupp and Verta Taylor (2010) find that leaving home for college and the party scene at the University of California, Santa Barbara allows women to explore their sexuality. Utilizing Patricia Zavella’s concept of “Talkin’ Sex” as a method, this study examines the impact that moving away for college may have on Mexican-American women’s sexual subjectivity, or several aspects of their sexual self-perceptions. Drawing from women’s experiences at the University of California, Santa Barbara through interviews, I expect that participants will identify a transformation in their ideology surrounding sexuality and eradicate shame about pleasure after they leave home for college. I will analyze interviews by comparing my participants experiences to Gloria Anzaldua’s Seven Stages of Conocimiento. The Seven Stages of Conocimiento are Anzaldúa’s conceptualization of a person’s transformation to becoming a new version of themselves and takes into account the complexities of the mind, body, and soul. Ultimately, this research seeks to deconstruct a culture of silence surrounding sexuality, challenge heterosexist assumptions within Mexican-American families, and provide Mexican-American women with a safe space to talk about their relationship with their sexuality.

Mere Seconds From Launch: Able Archer 83, The NATO Military Exercise That Almost Triggered Nuclear War

Illiana Lievanos

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Patrick McCray

Hello! My name is Illiana and I am a fourth year History and Political Science double major! After graduation, I would like work in public service, either as a staffer, legislative aid, or policy analyst. I enjoy reading, hiking, embroidery, museums, exercise, and art.

My project is centered on a NATO military exercise in the early 1980s that was similar to the Cuban Missile Crisis of the 1960s, which almost brought the two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war. In this paper, I utilize numerous US and Soviet documents, ranging from political speeches, declassified memorandums and reports, and commentary on the exercise that form the basis of my research. This thesis has three primary goals. First, I aim to comprehend US/Soviet relations in the early 1980s and the diplomatic actions that defined this tumultuous period. I do this by utilizing what historians have written about pertaining to US/Soviet relations in the late 1970s to early 1980s. Second, this paper looks at both the US and Soviet sides of the Able Archer 83 narrative through intelligence documents, memoirs, scholarly sources, and political speeches. I argue that US and Soviet intelligence misperceptions of one another, policies under the Reagan administration such as SDI and PSYOP, and Soviet fear of a Western attack contributed to the nuclear war hysteria of 1983. I answered several questions in my paper: what led to the deterioration of US/Soviet relations in the early 1980s? Why did Soviet intelligence misperceive the intentions of Able Archer 83?

Days and Nights: An Anti Manic Pixie Dream Girl Film

Grace Wilken

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Peter Huk

Grace Wilken is an actor, director, designer, and poet from the Bay Area. Currently, she is a fourth-year at UC Santa Barbara, double-majoring in English and Theater with a concentration in directing. Last fall, she directed the premiere of 3 Faces, a one-act play by Cyrus Roberts at UCSB. More recently, she has been co-directing, writing, producing, editing, and acting in a series of independent film projects as well as devising a one-person show to be performed in the spring of 2022. When she’s not working on a creative project, Grace can be found playing records for her plants or rollerskating through the streets of Isla Vista.

Days and Nights explores the complexities of writing women, specifically the trap of falling into tropes such as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG), a film term coined by Nathan Rabin, is a female character who exists solely to teach and transform the male protagonist. I investigated the MPDG trope by studying female characters from Chekhov’s play, The Seagull. Then, I devised an interaction between the Chekhovian female characters in the form of a screenplay, set in modern times, that subverts the MPDG elements. After constructing a modernized narrative, I directed a short film that explores women's’ complexities which are often ignored when looked at through the male gaze.

Panethnic Solidarity on College Campuses

Saeri Plagmann

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Xiaojian Zhao

I am a first-gen college student from a military family. From the opportunities I had of living in different countries and immersing myself in new cultures, I came to appreciate the meaning of diversity and found a passion working in the field of social justice and advocacy. After graduating, I hope to work in the non-profit sector to continue supporting marginalized communities, with the dream that one day we will all come together panethnically to create a more just and equitable society.

American society in the 1960s and 1970s was characterized by mass activism and mobilization efforts for social justice. It was an era in which people crossed racial boundaries to come together for a united cause. The recent Black Lives Matter and Stop AAPI Hate movements initiated a similar united interracial front, however, there was very little evidence of panethnic solidarity compared to what took place fifty years ago. Instead, what was more distinct was the dissociation and animosity between racial groups. With college students as my point of analysis, I look into the cause behind the dissonance among racial groups and why interracial mobilizing is seemingly more difficult to take up today. The first half of my research involved an examination of responses from a survey distributed on college campuses to assess both the personal and institutional obstacles experienced by our generation. The second half involved one-on-one interviews with eight students and two ethnic studies professors for a deeper analysis of perspectives, as well as to reveal variables that cannot be interpreted from the survey. My findings gave insight into challenges that are unique to our generation and unlike those of the 1960s and 70s. I suggest that while there are no clear-cut solutions to these issues, adjustments at the societal and institutional levels are critical in order to change the attitude and culture of our society, which is the key to ensuring a more panethnic future.

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Social Sciences


Arts-Based Approach for Public Engagement with Research: Building Mentally Healthy Environments in Pedagogical Spaces for Difficult Dialogues on Race.

Britney Walton

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Brandon Whited

Britney Walton is a fourth-year Sociology and Dance Double major with a minor in Applied Psychology. She’s currently a McNair Scholar and research assistant for Koegel Autism Center and Dr. Sharkey’s School Psychology Lab through the Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychology Department. Her research interests childhood traumatic stress interventions, parent-child interaction, and art-based research. When she is not studying she works as a residential counselor for Olivecrest and a behavior technician for California Psych Care.

In pedagogical spaces, spatiality, and emotional environment have direct links to mental well-being and academic achievement. The present study uses a survey, focus group, and arts-based approach to explore students’ experiences of difficult dialogues surrounding race in the classroom and the negative impacts of poor mental classroom environments. By utilizing mixed methods, the results of this study can be used to redefine pedagogical practices aimed to render psychological healthy space. Implications of this study were tested and further discussed through the facilitation surrounding race education in a modern dance performance education course. Using an art-based approach, the study explores the relationship between pedagogical practices and race education to unfold the process of engagement and impacts thereof; infrastructure, and the skills and experience of the stakeholders involved. The results reveal the need for augmentation in directing faculty and administration in the development of their own sensitivity, knowledge, and biases. The implementation of guidelines and accountability; and rapport building towards the preparation for safety in communication conflicts surrounding difficult dialogues in the pedagogical setting.

The School, The City, The Students: The Effects of UCSB’s Housing Crisis

Myra Morazan-Marin

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Dana Kornberg

I am a first-generation, Central American, low-income student born and raised in Los Angeles. I have goals of pursuing a career in the field of juvenile justice. I am passionate about topics such as: the juvenile justice system, mass incarceration, houselessness and housing justice, and urban studies. I was very excited to do research related to the housing crisis in Isla Vista and look forward to similar topics in my future professional and academic endeavors.

The purpose of my project is to understand the relationship between a university and its city by looking at the Isla Vista community, specifically, and Santa Barbara County at large. I will explore this dynamic by looking at the circumstances that led up to the current housing crisis, how existing housing issues were exasperated by COVID-19, and the way that students are organizing around the issues. The major conclusion I hope to derive is a concise understanding of how the relationship between a city and a university affects students’ housing situations and the way the student body mobilizes around the issues. I intend to explore the relationship between the University of California, Santa Barbara with the city of Goleta and Santa Barbara County with the intention of better understanding the current housing crisis affecting students, the circumstances that led up to it, and the effects the pandemic had on the already existing tensions. The objective of this study is to explore how the pandemic marked a peak point in a long-standing housing crisis and how the student body has responded. By focusing on the narratives of students, who they place blame on, and the way they advocated around the issue, this project gives an in-depth look at the housing crisis and the student body response.

The Effect of Structural Integration on Refugees' Perceptions of Discrimination

Ruby Patterson

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Daniel Masterson

Ruby is from the north Bay Area and is finishing up her last quarter at UCSB. She specializes in International Relations and has a strong interest in the Middle East. She's taken three years of Modern Standard Arabic at UCSB, which proved especially useful in completing this project. She intends to use the newfound research skills from this project in her future career plans.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is a meaningful relationship between refugees’ levels of structural integration (measured principally by language, employment, and education indicators) and their perceptions of discrimination in the workplace, in public, and when dealing with government authorities. Specifically, I investigated the experiences of Syrian asylum-recipients living in Germany; this group is particularly of interest because of the massive influx of Syrian asylum seekers to Germany starting in 2015 and the well-publicized integration efforts meant to accommodate the new population. Consequently, the greater aim of this project was to provide insight into the effectiveness of the German government's integration regime as a means to mitigate social tension, rather than in pursuit of purely economic goals. Previous research on the “integration paradox” has found that more highly educated and/or high achieving immigrants may perceive higher levels of discrimination, largely due to a sense of relative deprivation. To test this hypothesis, I used original survey data, collected by advertising on Facebook to Arabic speakers in six German states. I employed an East/West regional analysis to account for important variation in the levels of hostility towards immigrants in each area. Preliminary regression findings produced some statistically significant results. Integration index scores were negatively correlated with discrimination index scores, meaning more structurally integrated respondents reported less discrimination. Thus, my findings have challenged the "integration paradox."

The Sound of Queerness In Tap Dance

Kenny Moody

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ljiljana Coklin and Professor Alison Williams

Kenny Moody is a senior sociology major at UCSB. They are a queer student with a passion for tap dancing, writing, and sociology. They love pulling all parts of their interests and identities together to create informed media that can inspire people like them.

In “The Sound of Queerness in Tap Dance,” I examined the ways in which normative ideas of race, gender, sexuality, and more are coded into the performance of tap dancing. Dance forms, like all cultural elements, are shaped by the people participating in them. Their identities, experiences, and worldviews show up in the way the dance is performed. In many older and modern dance forms like Ballet, Hip Hop, Krump, or Salsa, the identities of cis-gendered and heterosexual people are most represented in the normative story and performance of those styles, and tap dancing is no exception. As a result, LGBTQ identifying dancers and their expressions through tap dance are largely absent from that narrative. The lack of accessible examples of queer tap performances leads me to ask the question, where is the queerness in tap dancing and how can modern performers queer the dance form? I found that the concept of queerness extends beyond identity categories to be a broad method of relating to ideologies and practices society deems normal. Queerness and normalcy are fluid concepts that change depending on time and place. When applied to tap I found endless ways in which tap dancing has been and could be queered or normalized, so I created an Instagram page that will apply my findings to produce queer art for the social media space.

How do Lay Health Workers (LHWs) help Latinx Families Overcome Barriers to Succeed in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)?

Yaxcha Mariles

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Miya Barnett

Low-income, Latinx children with behavioral problems currently lack culturally adaptive mental health services. The available mental health services lack the understanding of Latinx cultural variables and how these may affect treatment. These cultural variables include client-therapist incompatibility, cultural stigmas about therapy, and gender roles within family dynamics. Cultural incompetence result high attrition rates due to discomfort or a sense of lack of empathetic support from their therapists. I will highlight cultural factors these families are experiencing through collecting qualitative data from Lay Health Workers (LHW) who intimately discuss these issues with families undergoing Parent-Child Interactive Therapy (PCIT).

Ethnic minority families experience disparities in access to mental health services due to societal and cultural variables. When low-income, Latinx families are able to access mental health programs, such as Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), they learn skills to manage a child with behavioral issues. However, obstacles remain that prevent closing the gap on mental health disparities, including challenges in engagement (e.g., enrolling in care, attending sessions, practicing skills at home). One strategy that can improve mental health disparities among ethnic minority families is the involvement of lay health workers (LHWs) in mental health services. The LHW Enhancing Engagement for Parents (LEEP) project launched an effort to expand the involvement of LHWs to support families undergoing PCIT. These LHWs, also referred to as promotoras, are trained to help Latinx families overcome barriers that are impeding them from proficiently completing PCIT. Latinx families progress in PCIT will be documented by categorizing the qualitative information promotoras report during weekly supervision sessions. Coding and analyzing this qualitative data aids in establishing themes and trends of barriers that cause attrition and prevent families from developing expertise in PCIT. This study evaluates how promotoras help Latinx families overcome these barriers including lack of cultural or language competence (client-therapist compatibility), cultural stigma surrounding mental health, and cultural gender roles and family structure. This template of cultural barrier categories can help improve LHW engagement strategies and training to boost enthusiasm and retention rate to optimize treatment in behavior-based therapy and potentially extend to other forms of therapy.

The Search for Free Speech: An Exploration of the QAnon Movement Through Gab

Chloe Hoetger

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Simonetta Falasca-Zamponi

I am a fourth year sociology major and philosophy minor from Los Angeles, California. I am the editor in chief of SexInfo online, a student-run, sex education website here at UCSB, and I am also a course assistant for Sociology 152A: Sociology of Human Sexuality. Beginning this fall, I will be joining Cornell Law School's Class of 2025.

This research aims to understand why Gab users join the site, why they join and actively participate in QAnon-focused groups within the site, and how their overarching beliefs and ideologies are connected to their identification with the QAnon movement. This study explores these questions through ten semi-structured interviews with active participants of groups explicitly dedicated to QAnon on Gab. Upon analyzing my data, I found that people primarily join Gab due to censorship by mainstream social media platforms and that their participation in QAnon groups is not only a reflection of their support for the movement, though regardless of this, they all identify with numerous of its central tenets. This research contributes to existing literature on QAnon, Gab, and social media more generally, as well as to the conversation about social media’s role in influencing political polarization.

“Modest is Hottest:” Inadequacies of Contemporary Formalized Sex Education & Recourse Through Expanded Understandings of Sexual Learning Sites, Actors, and Processes

Sophia O'Hara

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Terrel Winder

Sophia O’Hara (she/her/hers) will graduate from University of California, Santa Barbara in 2022 with a Sociology B.A. and minor in History. She is passionate about sexual health, reproductive justice, and gender equity. She coordinates a human sexuality course at UCSB, conducts policy analysis for Students for Reproductive Justice, was a research analyst for the 2021 Washington State Gender Justice Study, and previously worked at the Seattle Public Health HIV/STD department. She plans to pursue a career in public health and policy in hopes of ensuring all people have access to inclusive, accurate, and resourced sex education.

My study aimed to examine participant’s relationship to sexual pleasure and related sexual learning processes. I conducted semi-structured interviews with 16 participants who were junior and senior standing undergraduate students at UCSB who own sex toys. I coded this data based on sites of learning, primary interpersonal relationships that informed learning, affective experience, content, and sex toy acquisition and useage. My data identifies shortcomings of formalized sex education participant’s received, establishes the salience of informal sites of sex education (aka sexual learning), and discusses primary sites of informal sexual learning to demonstrate the creative and discursive means by which participant’s engaged with, challenged, and accessed sexual learning over the course of their adolescence (<18 years old) and into young adulthood (in college). Informal sites of sexual learning such as the internet (specifically pornography) and interpersonal relationships with parents and sexual partners were significant sites of learning for participants. My thesis contributes to existing literature by illustrating the relevance of non-formalized sexual learning sites and substantiating the knowledge and expertise of participants’ as key agents in their learning processes. My thesis subverts theoretical underpinnings (and shortcomings) of contemporary sex education by positioning participant’s sexual learning as a multifaceted, nuanced, and reflexive process rather than unidirectional and fixed.

Sea Level Rise Risk Perceptions: Assessing Students at the University of California, Santa Barbara

Taylor Roe

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Elliott Finn

My name is Taylor Roe and for my Senior Thesis in Environmental Studies, I assessed UCSB students' risk perceptions of sea level rise. My curiosity about the ways in which humans are changing their natural environment, perpetuated by the economic systems we have in place, fueled my passion for this Senior Thesis project. The ocean is a very important part of my life, and it drove me to pursue a larger project that I could walk away from UCSB with. The UCRA grant has been an extraordinary opportunity for me to take this research to the next level. I feel strongly about crafting a product which showcases my best work so that in the future, I can draw upon the skills I cultivated in this project to help achieve my goals.

This Senior Thesis examines sea level rise (SLR) through the lens of stakeholder risk perceptions. The SLR hazards of cliff erosion, flooding, and wave damage will present considerable localized risks to the student community at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) making them stakeholders in this issue. I surveyed 267 UCSB students to assess how their perceptions of SLR risk for Lagoon Road (LR) and Del Playa Drive (DP) related to their demands for adaptation actions in each of these locations. LR and DP are both roads with near identical actual risks to SLR hazards, but LR is on university property while DP is in Isla Vista, an unincorporated community of Santa Barbara county. Existing literature suggests that risk perceptions can be influenced by the policy environment (the existing policy conditions in a place), culture, knowledge, and individual values in a given area. My findings show that (1) higher student SLR risk perceptions are related to greater demands for SLR adaptation actions, and that (2) students perceive the risks of SLR to be higher for DP than LR. The student community in IV and at UCSB expressed the highest demands for “accommodation” adaptation strategies, demonstrating the value placed on preserving coastal infrastructure as it exists currently. Ultimately, this project will serve as a useful tool to both students and decision makers alike.

An Analysis of Dialect Variation in Zhejiang Province, China

Xinyu Liu

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Matthew Gordon

Xinyu (Lucien) Liu is a first-year student at UCSB who majors in Computer Science. Programmer and a linguist to-be. Tennis player, skier & amatuer surfer. He dreams of becoming a language archivist who documents and perserves rare languages before they disappear.

Wu Chinese is commonly recognized as the main colloquial language being used in Zhejiang Province, China. However, it is estimated that more than eighty variations of this language are present in the province. With help from fields such as sociolinguistics and computational linguistics, this research aims to analyze the major differences between some of the Wu Chinese variations and bring forth a historical explanation of the dialect diversity in Zhejiang. The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of the historical factors that lead to this diversity. Collecting six recordings that each represents a unique dialect and analyzing their phonetic properties in Praat, the report concludes that of all samples, Hangzhou dialect and Wenzhou dialect (or Wenzhounese) are found to be the most unique ones from others, in which Hangzhou dialect exhibits certain characteristics that are also observed in Mandarin, and Wenzhounese exhibits a number of traits that are completely different from all other Wu varieties. For Wenzhounese, the cause of its divergence can be attributed to the emergence of a nation named Dong’ou two thousands years ago. The similarity between Hangzhou dialect and Mandarin is caused by a huge influx of northern Han refugees during the continuous warfare periods in South Song dynasty.

Sudden Moves: COVID-19, Migration, and Electoral Politics

Samuel Coats

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Prof. Clayton Nall

Samuel Coats is a third-year Political Science major. He has worked as a Research Assistant in the Political Science Department for over a year, and will graduate with Departmental Honors this June. When Sam isn't spending his free time with friends or family, you can often find him listening to baseball games on the radio.

Popular media and academic researchers have speculated about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on migration within the United States -- chiefly the effects of increased telework availability, but increases in evictions and the closure of universities as well. It stands to reason that large, new movement of voters between constituencies could have major implications for American electoral politics. I analyze how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed migration within the United States, focusing on how these changes may have affected electoral outcomes. I track the movements of voters in North Carolina through the United States Postal Service’s National Change of Address (NCOA) processing system. I then use this data to compare the demographics of voters who moved before and during the pandemic, their party registrations, and where the groups moved to and from geographically. I find that none of these variables changed significantly during the pandemic relative to the period immediately preceding it. Consequently, I conclude that migratory patterns did not change significantly during the pandemic, and likely did not have significant second-order electoral consequences.

The Impact of Partisan Motivated Reasoning on Immigration Politics

Emily Gold

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Professor Clayton Nall

Emily is a fourth year Political Science major with a concentration in American Politics. She is conducting this research for her undergraduate honors thesis in the Political Science department here at UCSB.

This project will examine the effects of partisan motivated reasoning on people’s beliefs regarding immigration policies. The theory of partisan motivated reasoning suggests that party affiliation influences political views and provides a lens through which political information is interpreted. Polarizing topics, such as immigration, can be more severely influenced by this phenomenon, leading to inconsistencies between political beliefs and concrete political realities. I conducted a survey to examine the effects of partisan biases on beliefs regarding immigration in the United States and will evaluate possible implications of partisan motivated biases on future immigration policies.

The American Dream Denied: The Inland Empire and Southern California’s Legacy with Postwar, Anti-Black Racial Housing Discrimination

Akunna Jeanette Chilaka

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Professor Guiliana Perrone

Hello! I am Akunna Chilaka. I am a Senior at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) double majoring in Public Policy and Political Science. My educational background inspires me to pursue public policy and civic engagement. I have a deep passion to help marginalized communities obtain access to health and broader societal equity, and I view political advocacy and policymaking as the vital avenues to not only ensure this goal.

This thesis exposes the hidden legacy of harmful housing discrimination in post-World War Two Southern California. Unlike traditional studies, however, I focus on the underappreciated stories of the Black Americans who migrated to Inland Empire cities – including Fontana and Riverside, between the 1940s and the 1960s. Indeed, while much has been written about Black Angelinos experience with discrimination and dispossession – including the now infamous story of the Bruce family in Manhattan Beach – we know far less about the circumstances in the burgeoning cities to the east. As Los Angeles became overcrowded and overdeveloped for its native residents, many Black Angelenos left for blossoming cities like Fontana and Riverside. These Inland cities not only had untapped land ideal for safe, comfortable living, but an abundance of industrial jobs to fund a postwar vision of stable, middle-class suburban life for Black Californians. My research thus examines how African Americans’ presence in these Inland suburbs and greater “intimate” spaces ultimately encountered challenges and resistance from their white Californian peers. By tracing the explicit racial violence and colorblind legislation that fueled housing discrimination, I will ultimately show how and why the Postwar promise of guaranteed housing and greater socioeconomic stability went unfulfilled for this subset of Black Californians.

How Media Framing in COVID-19 News Coverage Influences People's Preventive Behaviors and Perceived Self-Efficacy

Haoning Zhu

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Robin Nabi

I am interested in media framing in news and my research is about how fear vs. hope vs. neutral framing in COVID-19 news coverage can influence people's behaviors and perceived self-efficacy.

Since most people gain nearly all of the information about COVID-19 from news media, it is important to understand the news presents and frames COVID-19 can significantly influence the public perceptions and attitudes towards the pandemic, and eventually leads to changes in people’s preventative behaviors, which may affect public health and other people’s life safety. The research will conduct an experiment to examine how fear framing and hope framing in the news coverage of COVID-19 can influence people’s preventative behaviors and perceived self-efficacy. Framing theory, functional emotion theory, and affect infusion model are applied in this study. Participants will be randomly assigned to three groups exposed to fear-framed news, hope-framed news, and descriptive news, respectively, and complete surveys to report their perceptions and behaviors. All participants will be tested on traits, sensational seeking level, perceived knowledge about COVID-19, preventive behaviors, and perceived self-efficacy of taking the behaviors. This study will build people's awareness of media framing and help them foster a healthy fear of COVID-19 to be alert to the pandemic and help slow its spread.

Nonbinary Sex Workers

Julieta Corral Phun

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Tristan Bridges, Cierra Sorin

Julieta is a fourth-year sociology and mathematics major. They write poetry, talk about sex education, and educate about lgbtqia+ topics.

This research analyzes the experiences and challenges of nonbinary sex workers within their sex work. The results of this study indicate that the 7 participants interviewed and the authors of various Reddit posts face struggles within their identities as nonbinary sex workers. The findings suggest that nonbinary sex workers perform gender that is different than their gender expression for their financial wellbeing but may decide against it for their mental wellbeing. Moreover, nonbinary sex workers struggle with their body image due to gender dysphoria, health issues, and outside perception. Nonbinary sex workers create boundaries to protect themselves from harm but may forego these boundaries for their financial wellbeing. Lastly, nonbinary sex workers participate in the sex work community by creating their own spaces and contributing to keeping other sex workers safe. The findings contribute to research on nonbinary individuals and sex workers by showing that, despite the lack of literature, nonbinary sex workers are present and can provide insight into how people negotiate their gender, their body image, and their boundaries during sexual activities.

Growing up Without a Biological Mother: Daughters' Family, Career, and Household Labor Aspirations

Jessica S. Muñoz

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Maria Charles

Hello everyone, my name is Jessica Muñoz. I am a third-year Sociology student with a minor in Educational Studies. I currently serve as the Alumni Chair for the Sociology Association at UCSB and work as an after-school assistant with local elementary students. I have a deep passion for serving my community, especially as an advocate for educational equity. I plan to become an elementary school teacher in the near future before going back to school to receive my Ph.D. in Education Policy.

Sociological research has shown how significant parental influence is on the gender beliefs of their children. This project serves to better understand women's experience of growing up without their biological mother in their household during early childhood. More specifically, to understand the daughters' attitudes towards divisions of labor in the household, career, and family orientations. I seek to identify possible associations between motherlessness and women's attitudes on traditionally gendered responsibilities. To complete my project, I conducted semi-structured interviews and identified key patterns in the responses. The conclusions derived from this project offer a new understanding of how maternal absence affects one's future aspirations regarding family, divisions of domestic labor, and career path.

Meditation in Public Schools for Preventing and Healing Domestic Abuse

Sarah Hamm

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Paul Mena

I am working to influence public policy to leave my child with a more cohesive, inclusive, and caring society.

I want to explore ways to help mitigate domestic abuse and its resulting trauma. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to have myriad mental health benefits, including behavioral improvement and trauma recovery. My project explores teaching meditation skills in public schools as a partial solution to domestic abuse in our society. A review of compelling literature and studies are used to craft an issue report to advocate for policy recommendations of mindfulness programs. Building mental health skills in our children may help foster the culture of connection we need to reduce and heal from domestic abuse in future generations.

SproutUp at UCSB

Quinn Costello

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Simone Pulver

I am a third yer Communication and and Environmental Studies double major. Through the Environmental Leadership Incubator I aimed to restart the UCSB chapter of SproutUp to bring environmental education to local schools. I believe that educating the younger generation is one of the best ways we can reduce the impacts of climate change.

Over the last six months, we have trained forty college volunteers to be Sprout Up instructors, and run a four week curriculum and an eight week curriculum in four 1st grade classes and six 2nd grade classes, with class meeting once a week for an hour. We built a strong and stable campus organization that contributes to the UCSB and Goleta communities through education and outreach events such as Earth Day.

Sprout Up at UCSB

Chloe Kerr-Stein

Simone Pulver

Chloe Kerr-Stein is a third year student at UCSB double majoring in Environmental Studies and CCS Writing and Literature. She is a member of the Environmental Leadership Incubator at UCSB, and for her project she is working to restart the UCSB chapter of Sprout Up, an environmental education nonprofit. She is committed to providing free, accessible environmental education for all elementary school students.

Over the last six months, we have trained forty college volunteers to be Sprout Up instructors, and run a four week curriculum and an eight week curriculum in four 1st grade classes and six 2nd grade classes, with class meeting once a week for an hour. We built a strong and stable campus organization that contributes to the UCSB and Goleta communities through education and outreach events such as Earth Day.


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