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CSSH Fall 2021 PEAK Experience Awardees

CSSH congratulates the following students for receiving Fall 2021 PEAK Experience Award, awarded by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.

Base Camp Awards

Isabela Casillas, CSSH’22, “Latin@s in Community Conditions – Crime and Census Track Data Analysis”
 Professor Ramiro Martinez, School of Criminology & Criminal Justice
This is a compilation 1960 census track-level data in the Miami community to see what was published; the project aims to connect the crime-rate data to the community-level data, as well as to determine who used this 1960 census data and what Cincanx studies outshoot from there.

Robert Madden, CSSH’23, “Decolonizing Political Thought”
 Professor Natalie Bormann, Political Science
This project’s goal is to evaluate the way that political theory is taught, including the controversial backgrounds of the authors. The research will be conducted within a particular course setting, along with evaluating the scholarly materials available on the matter.

Rebecca Scheldrup, CSSH’23, “The New Digital Divide: Addressing the Need for Increasing Digital Literacy”
 Professor Lori Gardinier, Human Services
This project will evaluate the need for a program that assists individuals with digital literacy at one of Boston’s homeless organizations. This needs evaluation will be accomplished by speaking with members inside the organization in collaboration with an assessment of programs that already exist to combat the digital divide.

Charlie Zhang, CSSH’24, “Healing From Disaster: A Study of How Trauma Shapes Community”
Mentor: Professor Steven Vallas, Sociology and Anthropology
Healing from Disaster is a project that seeks to explore the personal and organizational coping strategies employed by individuals who experienced collective trauma from the devastating 2011 Earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand. This project will explore “coping” as the conscious and voluntary behaviors mobilized to manage internal and external stressful situations, with a focus on community outcomes, such as social integration and cohesion, positive psychology, and well-being. A study will be conducted through qualitative interviews to determine the success of different coping strategies in developing a path to healing from collectively experienced traumatic events, to be presented at RISE 2022.


Owen Graham-O’Regan, CSSH’23, “Changing Laws or Changing Norms? The Impact of Female Leadership on Intimate Partner Violence in India”
Mentor: Professor Bilge Erten, Economics
This project will provide the first quasi-experimental evidence of how women’s political leadership affects intimate partner violence. Despite the adverse consequences of intimate partner violence, there is little consensus on what policies help prevent it. This project explores a possible means of combating intimate partner violence, building upon recent research that suggests female leaders create numerous positive outcomes for female constituents. By exploiting quasi-random results of close elections between candidates of opposite genders, we study the channels through which women’s political representation in Indian state legislatures may affect the risk of intimate partner violence for women in their districts.

Emma Isaacs, CSSH’23, “Exhibit on Dance as Resistance in the Caribbean”
Mentor: Professor Elizabeth Dillon, English
This exhibit explores the role of dance in early Caribbean culture, specifically looking to its role as a vehicle for cultural preservation and as a tool to trace the development and blending of cultures among Indigenous Caribs and Africans, looking to areito and set girl performance as critical examples of cultural dances. In the multicultural context of the Caribbean, dance is one way to trace the history of specific ethnic groups and how they combined and changed as a result of colonization.


Brittany Clottey, CSSH’22, “Marginal Bodies: Women of Color, Representation, and the Struggle for Citizenship and Belonging, 1920-2020”
Mentor: Professor Patricia Davis, Communication Studies, CAMD
This project aims to create an exhibition centered on issues of African American women’s representation in a variety of media, including film, television, print advertising, and black-centered newspapers and entertainment magazines. It will adopt a historical approach, with the specific goal of tracing, documenting, and displaying the evolution of the images that have contributed to the marginalization of African Americans from dominant conceptions of citizenship and belonging in the U.S. In addition, this project will lead to the development of a journal article centered on the concept of black feminist memory, which is an underdeveloped field.

Jasper Duval, CSSH’23, “‘Pray to the Mumbai Government’: Government Officials and Legal Exclusion in a Non-notified Settlement in India”
Mentor: Professor Liza Weinstein, Sociology and Anthropology
My previous PEAK projects explored how spatial stigma and legal exclusion impact the mental health and daily lives of the residents of Kaula Bunder, a non-notified informal settlement in Mumbai, India. In investigating these connections, we have come upon the importance of citizen-official interactions in creating and enacting legal exclusion in Kaula Bunder, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This semester, we will analyze our current and incoming data with the aim to create a theoretical framework and thesis statement to use in writing a paper on the topic in future semesters.

Savita Maharaj, CSSH’22, “Early Black Boston Curriculum Beta Test”
Mentor: Professor Nicole Aljoe, English
This project builds on the draft curriculum (created in the summer of 2021) by engaging in a beta test run of the curriculum in advance of the initial pilot of the program in BPS in Spring 2022. In order to improve this tool, we need to engage this material within a classroom setting. The beta test period will allow us to adapt the framework we have built so that it is specifically geared towards the needs of our educators and students. This project will work towards changing the curriculum of our schools today, giving more recognition to BIPOC narratives.

Derrick Salvatore, COS’22 and Kira Mok, CSSH’23, “PFAS in Puerto Rico”
Mentor: Professor Phil Brown, Sociology and Anthropology
The purpose of this project is to measure per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) levels in drinking water samples collected from residences near potential PFAS contamination sites in Puerto Rico (PR), as there is limited knowledge and testing of PFAS in PR. This will help identify drinking water sources that contain PFAS and potential routes of exposure for affected community members. We will also conduct interviews with community members about their experiences and drinking water sources. The testing and interviews will inform the reportback materials that we provide to residents and will also be incorporated into a journal article.

Catherine Wenger, CSSH’22 and Sarah Weihl, CSSH’22, “Behavioral and Health Systems Impacts on Health and Population Outcomes for Neglected Diseases in Kenya”
Mentor: Professor Richard Wamai, Cultures, Societies, and Global Studies
This project at the African Center for Community Investment in Health (ACCIH) aims to understand what behavioral and system factors impact the health outcomes of three Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs; Leishmaniasis, Trachoma, and Snakebite) in Baringo, Kenya. This will involve understanding the incidence of the NTDs, population characteristics, and interacting health systems structures for managing the diseases so that reccomendations can improve NTD education and management. Data is collected as part of ACCIH’s ongoing programmatic interventions through interviews with health workers and patients and medical record review. The results will be shared in policy briefs, conference presentations, and two manuscripts.

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