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Stronger Together: Navigating Power and Privilege

Presenter Abstracts: Academic Exchange Sessions I & II

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19 (1:30 - 2:45 PM)


Sandy Grande


Magda Garcia, Engendering Chicana Horror Poetics: ire'ne lara silva's Flesh to Bone
I examine the role of the horror genre within Chicana literary productions, with attention to how Chicana literature negotiates, deploys, and generates racialized and gendered horror productions. I specifically focus on ire'ne lara silva's short story collection, Flesh to Bone, comprised of stories ranging from the supernatural (la lechuza) to the quotidian (domestic abuse). Through horror, silva weaves memory, coloniality, violence, and survival.

Tasha Hauff, Labor of Language Love: Lakota Immersion at Standing Rock
Based on two years of participant-observation research, this paper discusses the Lakota language immersion program on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. This program is struggling to keep its doors open, while at the same time develop Lakota proficiency in its students. In this paper I argue that the team at the immersion school is nevertheless succeeding in overcoming particular challenges and fostering a flourishing language movement.

Ashlie Andrea Sandoval, The Hold of Design: Architecture, Blackness, and Labor
Architecture theorist Darryl Hattenhauer claims that architecture is a rhetorical genre “because it induces us to do what others would have us do.” In this paper, I ask if architecture is persuasive, what is the argument of architecture meant for Black labor? Drawing from the work of Christina Sharpe and Saidiya Hartman, I chart how architecture contained and choreographed Black life, through an examination of slave ships, mid-twentieth-century public housing high rises, and urban streetscapes.


Moderator: Scott Stevens


Bayley Jo Marquez, "No Women Involved": Native Women's Importance in Defining the Racial Discourses of Industrial Education
This study examines how white reformers of Indigenous education from 1840-1923 constructed gendered racial narratives of Indigenous people. I argue that these racial narratives hinged on the gendered production of Indigenous women. Using archival sources from the Hampton University Archives, I examine how Indigenous people were discussed as racialized educational subjects. These racial narratives positioned Indigenous women as subjects that made the race of students at Hampton legible.

jub Sankofa, The Trap: Mapping Black Itinerant Youth, Mobility, and Incarceration in California, 1900-1940
James Smith was orphaned at 12 years old when both of his parents died. Soon after he began following farm labor from the U.S. South through the Southwest into the cotton fields of California. Through a combination of prison & police records, maps, images, & multi-media, I uncover the life of James and other migrant teenagers of the Great Migration. This presentation will shed light on vagrancy laws and the role of the carceral state in restricting the mobility and labor of black migrant youth.

Meina Yates-Richard, The Acoustic Aesthetics of Black Womanhood in Emergence and as Emergency: Black Maternal Soundings in Douglass, Ellison, Cliff and Diaz
Kimberly Brown’s The Repeating Body orients attention to “afterimages” of bound black women as sites of cultural memory. My presentation reorients attention to black women's vocalizations as an archive that mediates how black women's cultural and political labors are (mis)perceived. I theorize how textual representations of black women’s aural practices constitute these sounds as protest and critique, as well as acts of maternal care-work that comprise the core of black liberation imaginings.



Moderator: Aisha M. Beliso-De Jesús


Angelica Allen, Afro-Amerasians: Blackness in the Philippine Imaginary
This dissertation focuses on the experiences of a community in the Philippines known as the Black Amerasians (a population born from the union of African American servicemen and Filipina women). It examines how they actively define their own identities and shape the ways in which they are perceived by the larger Filipino community. I employ an interdisciplinary ethnographic approach which involves autoethnography, visual ethnography, and oral histories of Black Amerasians in the Philippines.

Brandon Thomas Alston, “The Camera is My Weapon”: Urban Residents’ Use of Cellphones and Camera Cues to Protectively Monitor Police Harassment
This paper investigates citizens’ recording culture through in-depth interviews with twenty black men in Chicago. The findings suggest that when urban residents perceive that officers’ words and actions suggest that harassment is occurring or impending, they use their cell phones to record officers to try to protect themselves and others. In this study, residents leveraged their cellphones as symbolic weapons to assert masculinist protection and to create videos of police misconduct to promote conversations about justice in society.

Maria Elizabeth Roldan, Defining Blackness through a Caribbean Lens
A large portion of the scholarship on African Diaspora studies is focused on an English-speaking diaspora, and in the Caribbean the discourse on blackness is often based on subjects from previous British Colonies.Limiting the conversation on who is defined as black. In this paper, I will look at how space redefines blackness in Literature. I will present one way in which a black body in the Spanish Caribbean defines herself as black, and how that is different from a body in the US, for example.


Moderator: Mark Lawson


Michael Dan Mandler, Fighting Bad Bugs with Old Drugs and New Targets
The widespread overuse of antibiotics has led to a surge of drug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria that pose serious health threats. Gram-negative bacteria are fortified by an outer membrane layer containing lipopolysaccharide, which shields and makes them harder to kill with antibiotics. There are currently no drugs that disrupt the essential outer membrane assembly. In my presentation, I will describe our discovery of a drug that perturbs the machine that helps build the outer membrane.

Pablo Martinez, Function of TANGLED1 as a Microtubule Associated Protein During Plant Cell Division
Correct cell wall placement during division is an important aspect of plant development. Maize tangled1 (tan1) mutants have defects in cell patterning as well as a short stature phenotype. TAN1 protein fused to Yellow Fluorescent Protein (TAN1-YFP) localizes to the cortical division site and is maintained until the formation of the two daughter cells. An in-vitro approach is being taken to understand TAN1 function on microtubules, an integral part of the cytoskeleton.

Erica Lee Sanchez, Liver Cell G-Protein Couple Receptor Signaling & Modulation of Cellular Metabolism
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a major cause of chronic liver disease in the US and liver carcinoma world-wide. NAFLD can contribute to metabolic disorders like diabetes. However, the cell biology implicated in liver disease is less understood. Our lab studies how cell signaling via G-Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs) modulates cellular function. My work examines two GPCRs expressed in liver cells, to understand how GPCR trafficking and signaling impacts liver metabolism.



Moderator: Kyra Gaunt


Amaris Diana Brown, The Sound of Restraint: “Strange Fruit” and the Aesthetics of Inheritance
Billie Holiday’s 1939 performance of “Strange Fruit” calls attention to the sexualized politics of lynching and the narrative tension of repulsion in the Jim Crow South. In Holiday's voice, the imagery of the pastoral south is rendered in contradiction--both mangled and floral, bitter and sweet—the sound of restraint. The paper examines the link between black feminist theories of the body and an aesthetics of inheritance embodied in Holiday’s performance.

Gilda Yvonne Posada, RE/claiming Landscape: Queer & Feminist Xicanx Artistic Fluidity
Is there a way for Chicanx constructions of sovereignty to be challenged in the visual world without replicating settler-colonial ideals? This research considers the visual and artistic practice of Xicana-Indígena artist Celia Herrera Rodriguez and the artist collective Mujeres de Maíz. Their works reflect a dialogue with queer, Chicanx, Native-American, Pre-Columbian, and Mexican epistemologies that push against Western artistic ontologies dealing with “objects,” “materiality,” “collections” and "space."

Silvia Patricia Rodriguez Vega, Immigrant Children: Resilience and Coping with HeART
“We didn’t know anything about my cousin until we saw on the news that his body was found on the border,” cried twelve-year-old child migrant, Elisa, as she explained the term “immigrant” during theater class. Over a two-year period, I paired qualitative methods with storyboarded drawings and theater to work with children of immigrants in a (ESL/ELL) sixth grade class in South Central, LA. This work provides insight into children’s lives during the pre and post-election years of the Trump era.


Moderator: Robert Gilliard


Stephen Adamo, The Flux Capacitor Theory: The Role of the Template in Satisfaction of Search
The cause of Satisfaction of Search (SOS)--increased misses after finding a first target, has eluded radiologists for over 50 years. Here I propose a new Flux Capacitor theory--a found target becomes a template guiding observers to similar targets (increasing misses for dissimilar targets) and depleting cognitive resources necessary for search. In this talk I will present results supporting this theory and discuss the theoretical/practical implications it is has for visual search and radiology.

Carina Raquel Fish, Towards Accessing Oceanographic Processes on Deep Sea Corals
It is unknown to what extent increased CO2 is affecting the deep sea. Deep sea corals provide a geochemical archive of both surface & deepwater environments from what they ate & the conditions in which they grew. I present preliminary observations from sampled deep sea corals in the context of oceanographic variability. This work aims to understand the correlation between interannual oceanographic variability in carbonate chemistry, oxygenation, & zooplankton abundance with changes in coral communities, including growth rates & skeletal geochem.

Kennda Lynch, The Perchlorate Diners of Earth and Mars: Understanding the Potential for Rocket-Fuel Powered Life in the Solar System
A goal of NASA's Mars exploration program is to understand the extent of habitable environments and energy sources available for life. Yet, there has been sparse analog study of a major metabolic resource on the red planet: perchlorate. Perchlorate accumulates naturally in arid environments across Earth, including in Pilot Valley, Utah. I will review my study of the relationship between perchlorate and microbes in Pilot Valley and discuss implications for the search for evidence of life on Mars.


Moderator: Angela X. Ocampo


Fernando Montero, Matrilocal Military: Gendered Regulation in the Moskitia’s War on Drugs
The central organizing phenomena of the War on Drugs in the Afro-Indigenous Moskitia region of Central America are the habitual sexual and romantic affairs between Nicaraguan and Honduran soldiers and Miskitu women. Based on 14 months of research in militarized Miskitu villages, this paper examines the implications of the gendered organization of military operations for the lives of local women, the possibility of indigenous autonomy, and the regional War on Drugs.

Ana Luisa Oaxaca, Fighting Back Against La Migra: Causal Effects of Deportation Raids on Latino Political Participation
This project measures the causal effects of deportation raids on Latino political participation. We use voter file data to geocode New York city voters and test the causal effects of proximity to raids on three outcomes using original ICE apprehension and removal data from 2012-2016 : 1) precinct-level registration, 2) individual-level turnout, and 3) precinct-level vote choice. Consistent with prior research we expect raids will have a mobilizing effect on Latino political participation.

Sierra Kiernan Watt, Gender Representation among Native American Tribal Executives
Descriptive representation “where we see women elected to office” constitutes the first step in researching gender in tribal governments. Using three primary categories of political factors that influence descriptive representation, institutional, structural, & cultural factors, I measure the number of women elected as tribal executives among the 567 federally recognized tribes, testing which factors best predict where women achieve political success.


Moderator: Iris Lopez


Chanel Marie Beebe, Community Engaged Design from the Community Perspective
Community Engaged Design programs are intended to give engineering and design students experience applying skills into their society. Much research has been done on learning and professional development outcomes for students. Less attention has been given to the experiences and development of the community partners involved in these experiences. Thus, the goals of my research are to illuminate the experience of community partners in community-engaged design experiences.

Ashleigh Imani Cartwright, "A Remedy for Cultural Deprivation”: Historicizing an Organizational Effort to Integrate White Schools
In 1963, about thirty educational and nonprofit leaders came together to found an organization called Prospect for Success (PFS). Intended to play a significant role in integrating white schools, PFS held an eight-week summer intensive for low-income, black and Latino boys to “culturally prepare” them for white institutions. Despite organizational changes over the past 50 years, the goal of the organization— to culturally prepare students of color for white institutions— has remained the same. Seeking better understanding of this process of “cultural preparation,” I will present preliminary findings from participant observation at PFS, interviews, and archival analysis.

Blanca Araceli Ramirez, To Trust or Not to Trust? Gendered Legal Attitudes of Families in a Post-Removal Proceedings Context
How are practices of detention and deportation affecting legal attitudes? Using 28 interviews with 17 family units who experienced the removal of a parent, I demonstrate that the gender of the parent matters for legal attitude development. Most family members of fathers fail to develop strong forms of legal cynicism, in part because of criminalizing discourses. On the other hand, family members of mothers develop stronger forms of legal cynicism given understandings of motherhood.


FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19 (3:45 - 5:00 PM)


Moderator: Braulio Jimenez-Velez


Natalie Shay Joe, Preclinical Development of Demethylating Drugs as Effective Therapies for Mutant Gliomas
Isocitrate dehydrogenase 1/2 genes (IDH1/2) are the most frequent alterations in gliomas and secondary glioblastoma. IDH1 mutations form tumors by producing an oncometabolite, 2-hydroxyglutarate, that causes both hypermethylated DNA and leaves the cells unable to differentiate. We hypothesize that targeting the pathogenic hypermethylation with 5-Azacytidine, a FDA-approved DNA demethylating drug in combination with temozolomide, will provide survival benefits in preclinical IDH1 mutant models.

Carlos A. Mendez, Repeat-mediated Deletions Can Be Induced by a Chromosomal Break Far from a Repeat, but Multiple Pathways Suppress Such Rearrangements
The mammalian genome harbors many types of homologous repeats, including Alu Elements, which comprise approximately ten percent of the human genome. These repeats contribute to cancer development through large deletion rearrangements that disrupt tumor suppressor genes. The factors and cellular processes involved in these repeat-mediated deletion (RMDs) rearrangements are not well understood. I will describe my assay system for investigating the regulation of RMD events in mammalian cells.

Rocío del Mar Saavedra-Peña, Specific Dietary Fats Lead to the Development of Insulin Resistance
Obesity and type 2 diabetes rates have soared in the past decades in line with dramatic changes in the composition of fats in our diet. Therefore, we aimed to investigate the impact of dietary fats on metabolic health. The type of dietary fat profoundly influences weight gain, fat mass and glucose sensitivity. Importantly, we have found that linoleic acid acts directly to disrupt insulin signaling, indicating that this dietary fat is specifically involved in driving the onset of type 2 diabetes.


Moderator: Judith Kertész


Juvenal Caporale, Chicano and Latino Men, the Circle, and Healing: On Indigeneity
Despite the colonial disruptions that have taken place against maíz-based Indigenous cultures in the U.S., the story of maíz continues to inform the lives of Chicana/o/x peoples. Their Indigenous identity offers them a de-colonial framework to resist discourses of dehumanization associated with gangs and criminality. As they reconnected with their traditional Maya-Nahuatl culture through ceremonies, these findings suggest that most Chicana/o/x peoples saw themselves as Indigenous peoples.

Elizabeth Rule, Indigenous Feminism through Place-Based Body Politics
In this paper, I provide an indigenous feminist theorization of embodiment, linking settler colonialism, tribal sovereignty, place, and the indigenous woman’s body. How can the indigenous woman’s body be understood as an embodied landscape upon which colonial imposition is inscribed and resisted; how are tribal sovereignty and bodily sovereignty intertwined? I posit that indigenous women’s bodies serve as place-based sources of traditional knowledge, ancestral experience, and feminist strength.

Jennifer Rose Smith, Ice and Beringia in Joan Naviyuk Kane's Poetry
The Arctic is often appropriated to tell universalist stories of human migrations and to illustrate precarity of a changing climate. Yet, these grand narratives overlook indigenous articulations of transit, a changing landscape, and distinct relation to place in the Arctic. I read Joan Naviyuk Kane's poem "Exceeding Beringia" as a disruption of universalizing tendencies and a recentering of geographically specific indigenous stories, histories, and futurities.



Moderator: C. Brandon Ogbunu


Priscilla San Juan, Response of Bird Gut Microbiomes to Insect Diet Composition Across Land Use
Land use change can decrease animal biodiversity, but its impact on their gut microbiome is not well understood. We quantified the effect of land use change on bird microbiomes in a Costa Rican landscape containing habitats from pristine forests to agriculture. Using DNA metabarcoding, we determined microbial and arthropod prey compositions from fresh fecal samples. Overall, our data suggest that host species identity, diet and habitat type influence gut microbial composition.

Shersingh Joseph Tumber-Davila, The Depths of the Terrestrial Plumbing Network: A Global Analysis of Plant Root Traits
Plant roots act as the plumbing networks that move water and nutrients from belowground upward, and move carbon downward. This biotic plumbing system plays a major role in global terrestrial processes. Therefore, it is important that we understand the depths of root systems, and how roots interact with the earth system. In this study we highlight the links between below- and above-ground plant size, as well as understanding the influence of climate and environment on root systems.

Kelly J. Wallace, Sex Differences in Cognitive Style and Domain Relationships in Mosquitofish
We tested Gambusia affinis in a numerical discrimination task and a detour maze. While we observed no sex differences in performance, only females exhibited relationships between numerical discrimination performance and exploration, reactivity, and activity, while only males showed a significant positive relationship between performance across the two tests. Our results highlight the critical need to investigate sex-specific cognitive styles when assessing variation in cognitive performance.


Moderator: Sandy Grande


Subini Ancy Annamma, The Quest for Intersectional Justice in Education
It is unclear how many students of color with disabilities are incarcerated. What we do know is that students of color and students with disabilities are overrepresented in youth prisons (Quinn et al., 2005). Using a mixed-methods study design: 1) Quantitatively, I will develop and dispense an intersectional demographic survey to all youth prisons nationally (N=1100). 2) Qualitatively, I will conduct 50 interviews of students of color from across the country identifying how intersecting oppressions contributed to incarceration.

Martín Alberto Gonzalez, Educational-environmental Racism: An Analysis of a Racialized Landscape in Higher Education
Using in-depth interviews, participant observations, and document analyses, this paper examines the racialized landscape of a private, predominantly white university in upstate New York. Drawing from Pulido’s (2000) reconceptualization of environmental racism, I argue that educational-environmental racism in higher education is experienced by Students of Color through, but not limited to, three means: social interactions; a racialized landscape; and a lack of resources/institutional support.

Mai Thai, Making 'Model Citizens': Junior Police, Youth, and Social Control in School
My project examines police in schools, but with a twist: I study junior police academies, which are school-police partnerships that expose youth to careers in law enforcement. My findings suggest that while junior police students may benefit from being valorized at school, this seemingly benign form of social control also justifies the criminalization of their peers and communities. This research has implications for understanding governance, school inequality, and police-community relations.

ENGINEERING - Crystal Cove

Moderator: Ingrid Padilla


Raudel Oswaldo Avila, Simulation Driven Design of Flexible and Stretchable Electronic Sensors for Health Monitoring
Historically, development of every new class of electronics has involved efforts to achieve operation in forms confined to a rigid platform. The technology proposed here seeks an opposite goal: to create soft, conformal electronic systems that can adapt to curvilinear surfaces like the heart; capable of clinical grade monitoring to help develop a controlled stimulation treatment for cardiac disorders. Mechanics plays a major role in stretchable electronics because it provides the guidelines on how to design a device to avoid system failure.

Gabriel Josue Rodriguez-Rivera, Polyhipe Microspheres for Growth Factor Delivery from Bone Grafts
A primary limitation of current clinical applications of growth factor delivery to promote bone regeneration is the uncontrolled burst release that limits efficacy and increases off-target effects. Our group has demonstrated the feasibility of fabrication.

Andrea Kimi Wallace, Design of Silica Structures Using Enzymatically Modified Peptides from Diatoms
The use of silica is widespread, however current synthesis methods require large amounts of energy and chemicals to control the structure of the silica. Here, we use proteins to synthesize silica and establish design rules that relate protein chemical modifications to changes in silica structure. Using these rules, we are able to rationally design synthetic enzyme pathways to create custom sets of protein modifications and rapidly synthesize silica at room temperature under aqueous conditions.



Moderator: Jonathan Rosa


Marquis Bey, Gendering Black Fugitivity
This excerpt from the dissertation, "The Blacknesses of Blackness: Fugitivity, Feminism, and Transness," argues that Black fugitivity can be understood to be doing different work when considering a trans/feminist theoretical lens as fundamental to an accurate analysis of the fugitivity of Blackness. In this is precisely the legacy of Black radical feminism and trans theorizing, troublesomely fissuring the insides of the order of purity of the category of woman, of cohesive gendered embodiment.

Yuridia Ramirez, Re-rooting Indigeneity: P’urhépechas and a Saint Day Festival in Twenty-First Century North Carolina
This paper builds on insightful oral histories that explore how cheranenses represent their indigeneity in North Carolina. It examines how indigeneity changes as its confronted with “Mexicanness,” “Americanness,” and the historical context of life in the South. Few historical works examine indigeneity as something that also travels through the diaspora and changes through time. To illustrate this difference, I use a representation of a saint day festival in Wendell, NC.

Amrah Salomon J., Regeneración and Regeneration: Anti-colonial Theory Across Borders
This paper examines the limitations of Anglo-centricity in Indigenous Studies and its impacts on Southwest border tribes through a bilingual analysis of the discourses on regeneración/regeneration as a theory of Indigenous decolonization. I emphasize the need to examine the century of debate on the term regeneración in Mexico, and the differences between anticolonial autonomous movements and nationalistic sovereignty movements that characterizes the internalized borders of Indigenous Studies.


Moderator: Ellen Wu


Naima Nilaja Mariama Green, Intervening Variables: Exploring Low Levels of African American Support for War
Though the impacts of demographic factors like gender and political ideology have gained growing attention in the international relations literature, the dynamics of race and its relationship to views on American foreign policy are still understudied. Across time and conflict area, black Americans consistently exhibit less support for the use of military force abroad, even when compared to white Americans from the same political party. This paper uses surveys of the public and of foreign policy elites to explore the reason for this phenomenon.

Joyce Ellen Klein-Rosenthal, America's Urban Lead Poisoning Epidemic: Planning to Transform our Toxic Commons
Lead exposure remains the foremost legacy problem of our built environment in cities. Its widespread presence in paint and dust in older buildings still poses the existential threat of permanent health and neurological damage to children in American cities in 2018. This research examines the urban experience with rules and programs developed by the federal, state and municipal agencies responsible for health and housing, critiques their current successes and failures, describing options for alternative systems of repair and stabilization.

Lissa Denielle Stapleton, Good (In)tensions: The Historical Relationships between HBCUs and Black Deaf Education
Prior to the Civil War, there was no state funded education for Black Deaf students. However, starting as early as 1868, a few HBCUs throughout the South supported the establishment of a Black Deaf educational system. The purpose of this study is to uncover the historical relationships, motivation, and impact of three HBCUs on Black Deaf education between 1930-1950. This historical archival study uses critical place inquiry and critical race Deaf theory to understand the role space, place, and time played in educating those most forgotten.



Moderator: Alex Chaparro


Joel Eduardo Martinez, Quantifying Shared and Idiosyncratic Judgments of Racism in Social Discourse
What makes a comment racist? We quantified the extent to which characteristics of individuals and of comments in question contribute to judgments of racism. We identified a consistently large level of between-person disagreement on what constitutes racism, even within ethnoracial groups and when social norm cues are strong. However, we find that definitions of racism are shared within opposing ideological divides. Our results have implications for group research and anti-prejudice endeavors.

Andrew Estrada Phuong, An Adaptive Equity-Oriented Pedagogy: Increasing Responsiveness to Student Learning in Higher Education Across STEM, Humanities, and the Social Sciences
Using randomized control trials, this study evaluates an adaptive equity-oriented pedagogy (AEP): the use of weekly formative quizzes to improve diverse students’ success. AEP can reduce achievement gaps as multivariate regression analyses show that AEP treatment courses outperform active-learning control courses by a letter grade, controlling for pre-test scores and intersectional identities. AEP courses achieved greater improvements in motivation, growth mindset, self-efficacy, and belonging.

Franchesca Ramirez, Violence Exposure Predisposes Antisocial Behavior by Altering Cost-Benefit Decision-Making: Experimental Findings and Policy Implications for Deterrence of Crime & Recidivism
Violence exposure (VE), antisocial behavior and crime are known to be linked, yet less is known about the underlying mechanisms driving this relationship. We found that VE increased risk for criminal offending, in part, because VE disrupted decision making under uncertainty. Economic models of crime and punishment and neural models of decision making suggest that enhancing the certainty and immediacy of punishment is more effective at deterring crime than increasing punishment magnitude.