Koret Scholars Program

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"Investing in the next generation of talent, innovation and leadership is critical in order to ensure that all students, including the disadvantaged, have the opportunity to lead productive and successful lives."
Michael J. Boskin, President of the Koret Foundation

With the goal of supporting research, scholarship, and creative activities at Sonoma State University, the Koret Scholars Program is made possible by a 5-year, one million dollar grant from the Koret Foundation, a Jewish philanthropic organization dedicated to increasing student success through higher education initiatives that specifically benefit underserved populations in the Bay Area.  

These awards are intended to support undergraduate students and their faculty mentors in research and creative projects across all academic disciplines, and each Koret Scholars Award provides funding for one faculty mentor working with four undergraduate SSU students over the course of an academic year.

In the 2020-21 academic year, the program supported 25 research teams by providing student scholarships, faculty stipends, and funding for research resources.  

A call for proposals will be announced at the start of Fall 2021 semester for the 2021-22 academic year, and priority will be given to applications that demonstrate diversity in the research workforce through the inclusion of students from groups that have been shown to be underrepresented in higher education.

For more information about the Koret Scholars Program, please contact Stacey Pelton: pelton@sonoma.edu

The 2020-21 Koret Scholars

THEATRE ARTS & DANCE: Farrah McAdam and Koret Scholars Kai Enciso Givhan, Marissa Salinas, Jasmine Lee, and Eros Mene

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"code em Revisited": Reimagining Realities through Embodied Exploration

School of Arts & Humanities, Department of Theatre Arts & Dance

Faculty Mentor: Farrah McAdam
 

Koret Scholars: Kai Enciso Givhan, Marissa Salinas, Jasmine Lee, Eros Mene

Project Description:

“CODE EM- Revisited: Reimagining Realities through Embodied Exploration” is a process of embodied research cultivated by Koret Scholars: Marissa Salinas, Eros Mene, Jasmine Kaiulani, and Sol James; all mentored by Farrah McAdam. Coming from varying BIPOC backgrounds and identities, our narratives are at the forefront of this embodied research. Embodied research is the physicalization of the discovery process, using scientific data and knowledge to support our dancing from an academic standpoint. The goal is to provide perspective on the typical research process, proving we can in fact provide accurate research through embodied movement. Heavily based on Urban Bush Women’s philosophies and practices from their “Entering, Building and Exiting Communities” workshop and their annual Summer Leadership Institute, this research group has used multiple practices to not only advocate for embodied research but examine what a successful collaboration can look like and how to consistently cultivate a space that is safe, trusting and successful for any collaborative group. Practices such as Building Agreements, Asset Mapping, and using Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process in our choreography processes to address each other’s works and provide feedback in a way that is valuable and respectful to the artist, as well as giving feedback to the art more than the artist. With our project, we also have implemented Lerman’s “Hiking the Horizontal” text to aid our questioning and reimaging of how any creative process looks or could be looked at. This kind of all hands on deck approach to research provides a well rounded, meticulous, and authentic creative process. Our process has consisted of meeting on a weekly basis and holding hybrid remote rehearsals. Through writing prompts, collaborative choreography, and guided improvisation, we have found a way to share our experiences in a productive, community oriented way. We practice transparency and accountability, especially regarding time and deadlines. This process has taught us how to work productively with others, especially in a remote environment, during a global pandemic. We are conducting multiple types of research, and have all chosen text to study on a variety of topics. From how trauma lingers in the body, what it means to navigate as BIPOC people in academia, embodied research, to code-switching through life and education. With four students and a mentor, this process has been equally collaborative thus far. All students are pursuing a variation of a dance major, and are actively involved in the dance department here at Sonoma State University. Aware of the representation we are providing for the department, the absolute goal is proving embodied dance research as academically weighted and validated. In addition to the research aspect, we are going to do what dancers do best: make a statement. Due to our various ethnic backgrounds, there is rich diversity between all of us. We find unity in diversity, and have chosen to use our worldly experiences to our advantage. Breaking constructs, challenging daily societal norms, navigating code-switching within the academic environment, living and breathing as BIPOC people, and pursuing an art major all at the same time.These shared experiences created a space new to all of us, for secondary education typically is built to work against those of our backgrounds. Our work consists of four cohorts, each one more uniquely diverse than the last. Each cohort leader has their own core concept and research process applicable to all of our varying experiences. Exploring various systems, constructs, expectations, and normalizations attached to each of our races, cultures, and ethnicities. We have chosen to title all of our pieces: “Ho'opuka E Ka Lā Ma Ka Hikina & Lili’u E”, “SystEM”, “Pillars”, and “529”. They represent us as a whole, and individually.

COMMUNICATION & MEDIA STUDIES: Talena Sanders and Koret Scholars Celine Uribe, Rebekah Holowatch, Mayron Ayenew, and Jacqueline Garcia

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Freddie - Short Fiction Film Research & Development

School of Arts & Humanities, Department of Communication & Media Studies

Faculty Mentor: Talena Sanders
 

Koret Scholars: Mayron Ayenew, Celine Uribe, Jacqueline Garcia, Bek Holowatch

Project Description:

Sisters Freddie and Truus Oversteegen along with Hanne Schaft weaponized what often makes women most vulnerable – their sexuality and femininity – to seduce and assassinate Nazi officers as part of the Dutch resistance during World War II. Freddie will be an experimental narrative short film, as seen through the eyes of Freddie, the youngest of these female resistance icons.

The story will unfold through slow, meditative pacing, intimate, extreme close-ups of small details, small gestures, and poetic storytelling structure. Shooting in 1940s period-appropriate cinematic 35mm film, with close attention to precise, heightened sound design to convey small details, the film will be designed to place viewers inside Freddie’s experiences. As Freddie meets and flirts with the Nazi officer she has been assigned to pursue, the viewer experiences embodiment through the close sound of her breath and heartbeats. Throughout the film we see each moment unfold in extreme close-ups of details – the setting, the officer’s eyes and mouth as he speaks. When Freddie finally leads the Nazi target to the forest to carry out the work of the resistance, the camera pulls back to an ultra-wide view. This shift in perspective represents her understanding of her role in the bigger picture of fighting the extermination of European Jews, Non-Jewish Poles, Soviet citizens, Afro-Germans, Roma, disabled, and queer people and others seen as “undesirable”. In interviews prior to her death, Oversteegen said she was never comfortable with being an assassin, but she was always confident she was working for the right cause.

An allegory for our current political era, rife with the normalization of white supremacy, disinformation campaigns, and threats to democracy and journalism, the film highlights a story of a group of bold young women who chose to resist instead of adapt, despite the possible personal consequences.

COMMUNICATION & MEDIA STUDIES: Emily Acosta Lewis and Koret Scholars Lauren Fernandes, Juliana Reed, Stephania Veziris, and Madison Dodd

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Diversity of Portrayals in Holiday Movies
Stereotypes, The Bechdel Test, and Family Portrayals

School of Arts & Humanities, Department of Communication & Media Studies

Faculty Mentor: Emily Acosta Lewis
 

Koret Scholars:Lauren Fernandes, Juliana Reed, Stephania Veziris, and Madison Dodd

Project Description:

This project consisted of a content analysis of holiday movies related to diversity, racial stereotypes, gender roles by race, and underrepresented groups in general. By doing a content analysis of holiday movies, it allowed the research team to examine the climate of holiday movies and how diverse they may or may not be. The research team examined the behavior of characters of color to evaluate if they are stereotypical portrayals, the types of gender roles shown, whether characters are primary or secondary characters, as well as the overall tone of the portrayal (e.g. characters of colors as the comic relief). The research team will examine a broad range of holiday movies from different production companies (e.g. Netflix, Disney, Hallmark, Universal, etc.) and will include both “made for TV movies,” streaming platform original content, as well as traditionally released holiday movies that were in the movie theaters. Some of the variables of interest were related to passing the Bechdel Test, race/ethnicity of characters involved in the Bechdel Test, gender portrayals, religious tone, family portrayals, as well as depictions of live versus cartoon, depictions of idealism versus materialism, and depictions by decade. 

ENGLISH: Emily Hostutler and Koret Scholars Mason Koontz, Angelica Sanchez-Rivera, Celine Rubalcava, and Estefania Bautista

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Community Engagement Through Muraling: Historically Underrepresented First-Year Composition Students and Sonoma State’s Core Values

School of Arts & Humanities, Department of English

Faculty Mentor: Emily Hostutler
 

Koret Scholars: Mason Koontz, Angelica Sanchez-Rivera, Celine Rubalcava, and Estefania Bautista

Project Description:

We, the Koret Scholars, sought out to support two activities that are in conversation with one another (one scholarly, one creative) both centered around the emphasis and success of Community Engagement Pedagogies in the First Year Stretch English Composition classroom and the sustained commitment to SSU’s Core Values. All four students, across several disciplines, will be involved in both projects but will take individual ownership over specific roles that compliment their academic and professional development. The first scholarly activity would involve the analysis of past and current community projects that supported the learning outcomes of GE Stretch Composition courses. Specifically, the objective is to quantify responses in student reflection essays about their civic-engagement experience. While we know that retention is an important outcome of this type of learning, what we really want the award to support is the research and quantification of the positive social and community impact students are making so early on in their undergraduate careers and how this influences their attitudes, professional goals and embodiment of SSU’s Core Values in the future. As for the creative activity, we have successfully erected a beautiful mural, titled Reciprocity. Depicted are two figures meant to represent the abundance of good that comes with service-learning. The artwork is situated at the entrance of a community partner, the Petaluma Bounty Farm. In addition to hosting previous First Year Stretch English Composition service-learning, they seek to end food insecurity and increase access to healthy food with organic farming and community self-sufficiency.

ART & ART HISTORY: Sena Clara Creston and Koret Scholars Tairyn Addison, Katie Pell, Chris Tovar-Villarreal, and Francisco Maldonado

 

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The Huminal
An Interactive Sculpture

School of Arts & Humanities, Department of Art & Art History

Faculty Mentor: Sena Clara Creston

Koret Scholars: Tairyn Addison, Katie Pell, Chris Tovar-Villarreal, and Francisco Maldonado

Co-Presenters: Nathan Candler, Joseph Haun, Tyree Hornbeck, Tony Jang,
Jesus Perez Quintero, Andres Rivera, and Manuel Vazquez

Project Description:

The Huminal is a glowing robotic sculpture made from discarded plastic water bottles and shopping bags that navigates a dark environment while sensing and responding to viewers within the space.

 

THEATRE ARTS & DANCE: Marie Ramirez Downing and Koret Scholars Reilly Milton, Marisabel Flores, Manny DeLeon, and Phi Tran

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Performing Accents and Dialects in the Theatre

School of Arts & Humanities, Department of Theatre Arts & Dance

Faculty Mentor: Marie Ramirez Downing

Koret Scholars: Reilly Milton, Marisabel Flores, Manny DeLeon, and Phi Tran

Project Description:

The theatre is a place to produce plays about the diverse people who populate this world.  The International Dialects of English Archive (IDEA) website was created to be a repository for real people to contribute their accents and dialects for theatrical study. It is used by professional actors, students, directors, and voice and dialect coaches when producing plays that require accuracy and authenticity when telling stories of various regions around the globe. We seek true representation of Mexican and Chicano voices from the northern, central, and southern areas of California. The current database for Mexico and California needs to be updated and expanded.  As Associate Editor for those regions, we plan to collect new accents and dialects that represent and include every unique detail about our subjects and give them a platform to tell their stories through a written and recorded transcription process and eventual performance by our SSU students.

EARLY CHILDHOOD STUDIES: Elita Amini Virmani and Koret Scholars Ashley Tinajero Gomez, Joseph Lofton, Cynthia Garcia Ponce, and Jennifer Bluestein

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Speech and Language Therapy in a Child’s Home Language
Will Providing Speech and Language Therapy in a Child’s Home Language Positively Impact Their Language Proficiency?

School of Education, Department of Early Childhood Studies

Faculty Mentor: Elita Amini Virmani 

Koret Scholar: Ashley Tinajero Gomez

Project Description:

Children with language impairments should have access to culturally and linguistically aware services that will scaffold the needs of the whole child. There is a growing need for bilingual Speech and language Pathologists (SLPs) in the field that can support the language needs of children whose dominant language is not English. However, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), when 6.1% of ASHA members and affiliates identify as Hispanic or Latino, in contrast to 16.3% of the U.S. population that identifies as Hispanic or Latino, it is clear why Latino families raising bilingual children might not have access to bilingual therapy for their children (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). The goal of this research proposal is to outline future research that will focus on the effects of children’s progress in therapy when their home languages are supported in therapy. For an academic year (10 months), 135 children will be divided into 3 groups of 45 students. Children in group A are native English speakers receiving therapy in English, while group B and C will have Spanish-speaking children. However, children in group B will only receive therapy in English while group C will receive intervention services in Spanish. The goal of the study is to explore if implementing the child’s dominant language as the primary language of intervention in a Speech and Language Therapy setting results in significant improvements in the child’s overall speech development.

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The Implementation of Restorative Practices
Restorative Practices in Transitional Kindergarten Classrooms

School of Education, Department of Early Childhood Studies

Faculty Mentor: Elita Amini Virmani 

Koret Scholar: Joe Lofton

Project Description:

The aim of the program is to pilot a restorative justice practices intervention for young children, their teachers and families. The project will focus on training early childhood professionals at University at La Fiesta in Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District (CRPUSD).

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Early Childhood Job Satisfaction and Burnout
Sonoma County Preschools

School of Education, Department of Early Childhood Studies

Faculty Mentor: Elita Amini Virmani 

Koret Scholar: Jennifer Bluestein

 

Project Description: 

This study investigated the potential relationship between results from the Early Childhood Provider’s Job Staisfaction (using the tool Early Childhood Job Satisfaction Survey- ECJSS) and Burnout (using The Maslach Burnout Inventory-Educators Survey-MBI-ES). The data for this paper was derived from an ongoing study on the use of reflective consultation in preschools. The ongoing study is being conducted by Dr. Elita Amini Virmani and Dr. Ayumi Nagase from Sonoma State University.

Study participants reported an average of feeling burnout about once per month, feeling depersonalization about a few times per year, and feeling a sense of personal achievement at least a few times per day. Creativity, environment, and colleagues emerged as the most rewarding contributors to their sense of job satisfaction. Future research should investigate the relationship between burnout and valued aspects of work.

Data from this study is descriptive and as such no direct correlation or causation can be derived from this data.

ENGINEERING SCIENCE: Farid Farahmand and Koret Scholars Nathan Candler, Jesus Perez Quintero, Andres Rivera, and Tony Jang

 

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The Smart Greenhouse

School of Science & Technology, Department of Engineering Science

Faculty Mentor: Farid Farahmand

Koret Scholars: Nathan Candler, Jesus Perez Quintero, Andres Rivera, and Tony Jang

Project Description:

The Greenhouse Project is an automated circuit on a local farm that opens and closes the windows of a greenhouse based on temperature readings and gyro angles. On a larger scale, this project would allow small farms to automate their greenhouses so their farms could be more productive overall.

COMPUTER SCIENCE: Gurman Gill and Koret Scholars Alex Dewey, Vincent Valenzuela, Antone Silveria, and Jonathan Calderon Chavez

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Using Machine Learning to Measure Biodiversity from Sound Recordings

School of Science & Technology, Department of Computer Science

Faculty Mentor:Gurman Gill

Koret Scholars: Alex Dewey, Vincent Valenzuela, Antone Silveria, and Jonathan Calderon Chavez

Co-Presenter: Colin Quinn

 

Project Description:

Biodiversity is an incredibly challenging metric to measure. This project aims to classify a soundscape and use that knowledge to help classify 500,000 minutes of sound data to understand broad, landscape scale patterns of biodiversity, human impact through noise pollution, and areas of quiet. All of these are indicators of ecosystem and community quality - essential measures for conservation, monitoring, and land management decision making. The main classification categories are Anthrophony (e.g., cars, airplanes, human voices), Biophony (e.g., birds, insects, amphibians), Geophony (e.g., wind, rain, running water), and Other. The main tools used to accomplish this task are mel spectrograms (e.g., visual representation of sound), convolutional neural networks (CNNs), transfer learning, ensemble learning, support vector machines (SVMs), and uniform manifold approximation and projection (UMAP). With these techniques we are able, to get broad category accuracies of 87%, and with confidence thresholding, we get accuracies of broad classification of 96%, and subcategory classification accuracies of 86%, 89%, and 100% for each subcategory classifier.

BIOLOGY: Lisa Hua and Koret Scholars Alissa Padilla, Marissa Cerros, Shayla Shahar, and Breanna Lee

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Chromosomal Organization in California Bay Laurel: Establishment of a Novel Methodology to Study Chromosomal Organization in the California Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica)

School of Science & Technology, Department of Biology

Faculty Mentor: Lisa Hua

Koret Scholars: Alissa Padilla, Marissa Cerros, Shayla Shahar, and Breanna Lee

Co-Presenters: McKennah Goshgarian and Reeya Shah

Project Description:

Changes in chromosome architecture have been implicated in gene misregulation, as chromosome architecture is abnormal in pathological cells. We have established a new experimental workflow to study the influence of Phytophthora ramorum (P. ramorum) on the chromosomal organization of California Bay Laurel (U. californica) using the model organism Azolla filiculoides. Our preliminary data shows the feasibility of embedding and staining plant tissue for chromosomes. Further optimization of the novel methodology is required before analyzing chromosome organization in vivo in U. californica. Our novel methodology will be used to understand the pathogenic effects of P. ramorum in the etiology of Sudden Oak Disease, thus contributing to our knowledge of the underlying mechanisms of pathogen-host interaction.

ENGINEERING SCIENCE: Nansong Wu and Koret Scholars Jordan Johnston, Izac Cervantes Lazaro, Jacob Crispulo-Rojo, and Jessica Mellor

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acreFree: An Automatic Wildfire Detection System and Network

School of Science & Technology, Department of Engineering Science

Faculty Mentor: Nansong Wu

Koret Scholars: Jordan Johnston, Izac Cervantes Lazaro, Jacob Crispulo-Rojo, and Jessica Mellor

Project Description:

Wildfires are a constant threat to millions of people and our local ecosystems, requiring constant and scalable monitoring methods. Current wildfire monitoring systems include numerous cameras looking over large areas of interest, but these cameras are only used to observe fires that have been found by emergency call-ins or other means. Our wildfire detection system and network will use devices with on-board artificial intelligence to detect fires as they happen. These detected images will be sent to a website, and displayed for the public and fire officials to view. Our tests show promise that this system can be scaled effectively in the future to monitor all kinds of wildfire-prone areas.

 

COMPUTER SCIENCE: Shubbhi Taneja and Koret Scholars Matyas Krizek, Alondra Lona, and Rohit Basu

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Profiling CUDA Benchmarks for Performance Analysis on Modern GPUs

School of Science & Technology, Department of Computer Science

Faculty Mentor: Shubbhi Taneja

Koret Scholars: Matyas Krizek, Alondra Lona, and Rohit Basu

 

Project Description:

High-Performance Computing (HPC) systems are becoming highly heterogeneous as we enter the exascale era. Performance, as well as power analysis of applications on hardware components such as Graphics Processing Units (GPUs), is thus of high interest and importance to the computing industry. In this research, we delve into evaluating the performance characteristics of two state-of-the-art NVIDIA GPU architectures: Volta and Turing. We select four CUDA applications, namely, Gaussian Elimination, Lower-Upper Decomposition, Stream Cluster, and Jacobi for profiling. We aim to study how these applications make effective use of the hardware by collecting and analyzing the profiling data available through six performance counters, laying the framework for future analysis under power and energy constraints. Such analysis is a precursor to identifying performance and scalability bottlenecks, improving GPU occupancy and utilization, and reducing the power print of HPC applications.

ENGINEERING SCIENCE: Mohamed Salem and Koret Scholars Nathan Candler, Tony Jang, and Andres Rivera

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The Heelium Project

School of Science & Technology, Department of Engineering Science

Faculty Mentor: Mohamed Salem

Koret Scholars: Nathan Candler, Tony Jang, and Andres Rivera

A special thanks to David Story 

Project Description:

The Heelium Project is a high-altitude ballooning experiment that was launched to measure low-frequency signals at altitudes ranging up to ten kilometers. After capturing data via the attached antennas, the data is processed through a Fourier Transform to see the amplitude differences in the relative power(dB) at different frequencies. This project provides distinct insight into a range of frequencies and their amplitudes that for the most part are unexplored, especially at this altitude.

KINESIOLOGY: Yonjoong Ryuh and Koret Scholars Nancy Jimenez, Ava Wigley, Eduardo Luciano Venencio, and J.T. Bymaster

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Parents and their Children with Disabilities
Parental PA Motivation and PA Level of their Children with Developmental Disabilities

School of Science & Technology, Department of Kinesiology

Faculty Mentor: Yonjoong Ryuh

Koret Scholars: Nancy Jimenez, Ava Wigley, Eduardo Luciano Venencio, and J.T. Bymaster

Project Description: 

Our main purpose is to examine whether parental PA motivation significantly predict PA level of children with developmental disabilities and to find the basic psychological needs that significantly contribute to predicting children’s PA level. Our results involve Ten Participant responses that have been included, this is our preliminary result. Only PA motivation significantly contributed to the prediction equation. 44.3% explains PA level of children with the regression equation. Our limitations are that could not found influential basic psychological needs, as well as, more sample size is needed and control of children’s ages. Our Follow-up plan is to, develop home-based PA program for parent-child pair. 

PSYCHOLOGY: Andy Martinez and Koret Scholars Alejandra Arredondo, Drew Davis, Tiffany Do, and Gerardo Garcia Hernandez

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Empathy and Anti-racism
Perspective-taking Influences Compassion and, In Turn, Anti-racist Beliefs

School of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology

Faculty Mentor: Andy Martinez

Koret Scholars: Alejandra Arredondo, Drew Davis, Tiffany Do, and Gerardo Garcia Hernandez

Co-Presenters: Ashley Barter, Narjes Faraji, and Olivia Gallagher

 

Project Description: 

Can empathy increase anti-racism? How might this happen, given empathy’s multidimensional nature (Davis, 1983; Smith, 1759; Zaki, 2020)?

We develop a conceptual model whereby perspective-taking (cognitive empathy) influences compassion (emotional empathy) and thereby promotes anti-racist beliefs.  Analysis of a cross-sectional dataset (N = 311) provides evidence for this conceptualization.

PSYCHOLOGY: Elisa Velasquez-Andrade and Koret Scholars Lizeth Cortez Ibanez, Clarissa Mendoza, Maygen McGrew, and Aracely Gonzalez

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Undocumented Students and Microaggressions
Microaggressions Experienced by DACA/Undocumented Students: Nature, Impact & Prevention

School of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology

Faculty Mentor: Elisa Velasquez-Andrade

Koret Scholars: Lizeth Cortez Ibanez, Clarissa Mendoza, Maygen McGrew, and Aracely Gonzalez

Co-Presenter: Mariana Guerrero

Project Description: 

It is estimated that about 454,000 undocumented/DACA students are enrolled in higher education (Redden 2007). Some studies have found that undocumented/DACA students experience discrimination and are subject to anti-immigrant attitudes in their pursuit of higher education (Crawford, Aguayo, & Vaye, 2017). Our study identified microaggression experiences, or everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership (Sue, 2007). We focused on the classroom, on/off campus experiences, and places where such microaggressions happen. We identified the nature, impact, coping mechanisms, and their recommendations about how to prevent and intervene when these experiences happen. Participants were interviewed using open-ended questions, which were transcribed and analyzed to identify common themes (using Grounded Theory). We will develop a set of recommendations for professors to handle microaggressions, difficult dialogues, and hot moments in the classroom to foster racial inclusion and a safe learning environment. Overall, our results will have a positive impact on the DACA/undocumented students’ sense of belonging, psychological well-being, physical health, and academic performance.

CRIMINOLOGY & CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Caitlin Henry and Koret Scholars Danielle Caballero, DeDe Williams, Kristine Pham, and Paloma Chavez

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Reducing Unconstitutional or Unfair Prison Sentences

School of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice

Faculty Mentor: Caitlin Henry

Koret Scholars: Danielle Caballero, DeDe Williams, Kristine Pham, and Paloma Chavez

Project Description: 

  • June 2018 and January 2019 amendments to California Penal Code section 1170(d)(1) are resulting in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) recommending people for resentencing and courts resentencing them. 

  • For the first time in the United States, law enforcement agencies can request courts to resentence people based on sentence calculation errors, changes in law, exceptional conduct, or infirmity. 

  • The penal code language outlines broad resentencing criteria. CDCR drafted “pilot” policies in July 2018, and “Emergency Regulations” in December 2019. 

  • However, CDCR hasn’t held the requisite public comment rulemaking. Thus, without public input or oversight, CDCR developed a more restrictive policy that reduces the number of eligible people. 

  • This project will evaluate the criteria and results of CDCR's policy in advance of an anticipated public comment process, and in the new context of increasing efforts to release people from prison due to COVID-19.

  •  If 1170(d)(1) is implemented successfully, California will have created a new nationally replicable strategy to reduce prison populations and save billions of dollars. 

CRIMINOLOGY & CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Emily Asencio and Koret Scholars Zachary Harkins, Kaory Hernandez, Carmen Martinez, and Abbygail Tardie

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Community Policing in the Age of Social Justice

School of Social Sciences, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies

Faculty Mentor: Emily Asencio

Koret Scholars: Zachary Harkins, Kaory Hernandez, Carmen Martinez, and Abbygail Tardie

Project Description:

Recent conflicts between law enforcement and the community related to law enforcement`s use of excessive force resulting in numerous civilian deaths emphasizes the importance of and need for building trust between the community and law enforcement. Calls for Social Justice with respect to police interactions with civilians are on the rise, and being echoed in scholarly settings Included in calls for social justice action, is the need for social scientists to engage in empirical studies that further the academic research surrounding social justice in the context of evidence-based practices. The current study evaluates community policing practices of in Sonoma County. Data from the County Sheriff`s office combined with data collected from community members are examined to determine whether perceptions about community policing are consistent among these two groups.  

HISTORY: Steve Estes and Koret Scholars Madison Tinsley, Paulina Lopez, Ashley Jimenez, and Daisy Cabot

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Black Lives Matter in Sonoma County
An Oral History Project

School of Social Sciences, Department of History

Faculty Mentor: Steve Estes

Koret Scholars: Madison Tinsley, Paulina Lopez, Ashley Jimenez, and Daisy Cabot

Co-Presenter: Christina Gomez

Project Description: 

This project documented the experiences of participants in the local Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement as well as law enforcement officers in Sonoma County. Because many of the student researchers were active in the BLM movement themselves, they were connected to the network of activists they interviewed and are sympathetic to their goals. However, this project was not a work of advocacy for any particular government policy or social reform. It was a scholarly inquiry into the history of the BLM movement and the evolving relationship between race and policing in Sonoma County.

SOCIOLOGY: Kyla Walters-Doughty and Koret Scholars Sandra Bahena Ortiz, Tegan Dalle Nogare, Montana Gurecki, and Darryl Maney

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Aesthetic Labor, Beauty Ideals, Racial Inequalities
Aesthetic Labor, Latinx Beauty Ideals, & Racial Inequalities: An Initial Examination of the Literature

School of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology

Faculty Mentor: Kyla Walters-Doughty

Koret Scholars: Sandra Bahena Ortiz, Tegan Dalle Nogare, Montana Gurecki, and Darryl Maney

Project Description: 

Retail employers in heavily branded "lifestyle" sectors increasingly assess workers' value based on appearance. Aesthetic labor refers to workers embodying the brand, through their style of dress, hair, makeup, and even speech. We explore what is known about Latinx experiences related to aesthetic labor. This analytic literature review is the first step of a larger research project that examines Latinx worker experiences in beauty-based retail.

SOCIOLOGY: Soo-Yeon Yoon and Koret Scholars Analyn Mapoy, Kaleena Wong, and Taylor Heissenbuttel

 

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Remote Learning Experiences at SSU: Leniencies and Collective Disconnect

School of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology

Faculty Mentor: Soo-Yeon Yoon

Koret Scholars: Analyn Mapoy, Kaleena Wong, and Taylor Heissenbuttel

Project Description:

This study explores how college students negotiate the universal COVID-19 crisis, and what are the major challenges and unforeseen benefits for them with remote learning. Drawing from in-depth interviews with 27 Sonoma State University students, we find that a handful of students find remote courses helpful as there is more leniency to online test-taking. While a small number of students mentioned that their relationships with professors have become strengthened, lowered class engagement and self-motivation and reduced interaction contributed to the presence of collective disconnect among their peers and professors. 

PSYCHOLOGY: Teresa Nguyen and Koret Scholars Rian Dixon, Hannah Brownlee, Andrea D. Ramirez, and Angela Shaw

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Ideal Mate Characteristics Among Low-Income and Racially Diverse Couples

School of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology

Faculty Mentor: Teresa Nguyen

Koret Scholars: Rian Dixon, Hannah Brownlee, Andrea D. Ramirez, and Angela Shaw

Project Description: 

Research has identified that racially diverse and low income couples are experiencing lower rates of marriage and higher rates of divorce. Previous hypotheses state that socially and economically disadvantaged individuals are less likely to marry due to the absence of “marriageable” partners (Lichter et al., 1992). There has been little regard for sociocultural and economic factors that may play a role in the decision to marry based on the fact that previous studies examining the characteristics of the ideal “marriageable” partner and attraction have been sampled from predominantly white, middle class, college students with an emphasis on the attributes of the individual (eg., attractiveness, personality). The aim of this longitudinal study was to identify which positive attributes are of great significance to low income and ethnically diverse couples and to observe how factors related to socioeconomic status and race could influence how individuals conceptualize the most salient and desirable attributes of a marital partner.

SOCIOLOGY: Debora Paterniti and Koret Scholars Azucena Carlos Montesinos, Morgan Beatty, Edith Valencia, and Tania Arango Rodriguez

View the Filling the Gap Poster

The Kindness Matrix: Contexts & Paradoxes of Generous Practices

Filling the Gap: Directions for Further Understanding Generous Practices

Methodology in Action: Development of Data Collection Tools

Growth Through the Multidisciplinary Team Process

School of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology

Faculty Mentor: Debora Paterniti

Koret Scholars: Azucena Carlos Montesinos, Tania Arango Rodriguez, Morgan Beatty, and Edith Valencia

Co-Researchers: Danielle Franks, Milana Kazmer, Monica Toupin, Milana Kazmer, Madison Gaffaney, and Montana Gurecki

Project Description:

Filling the Gap: Directions for Further Understanding Generous Practices: Generosity is both an identity and a social act and reflects an underlying emotional exchange in social relationships. (1) Acts of generosity are socially paradoxical and benefit both the giver and the receiver. (2,3) In this study we take a closer look at the concept of generosity and how people think about and have experienced generosity. The purpose of this project was to understand the complex contexts and practices of individual generosity based on a review of the existing literature. The research design that we used in our study is a literature review. We used interdisciplinary literature from 1950 to the present in order to compare how the concept of generosity has changed over time. The majority of studies that used experimentally-based methods were guided by perspectives in psychology and used U.S. adult populations.

View the Methodology in Action Poster

Methodology in Action: Development of Data Collection Tools: Our multidisciplinary team engaged in designing research tools to further understand the concept of Generosity and highlight aspects of the lived experience that might be missing from the literature. We developed a working definition of Generosity for our tool development, devised a structured questionnaire, and developed our interview guide. We find that working as a multidisciplinary team created a distinct experience that expanded our understanding of the literature and allowed us to develop substantial insight leading to deeper discussions of the participant's life experience in the pilot interviews not reflected in prior literature. 

View the Growth Through the Multidisciplinary Team Process Poster

Growth Through the Multidisciplinary Team Process: The fields of business and medicine contain many examples of the utility of multi-disciplinary teamwork. We undertook research on GENEROSITY using a multi-disciplinary, team-based approach to conceptualizing “generous practice” and to learn about the practice of in-depth interviewing in social science. Commentary on developing undergraduate research teams suggests that, with structure, such teams can be effective learning modalities for peer-to-peer mentoring and undergraduate research.