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The UCLA Library Prize for Undergraduate Research recognizes and honors excellence in undergraduate research at UCLA.

The inspiration for the UCLA Library Prize for Undergraduate Research came from Ruth Simon, lover of books and libraries.

Simon earned her BA in English at UCLA and served as UCLA's campus counsel for many years until her retirement in 2003. Her many memories of her college years include countless hours spent in the undergraduate library, studying for classes and exams or enjoying classic works of English literature.

Guided by her passion for reading and research and wishing to share her love of libraries, Simon established the Ruth Simon Library Prize for Undergraduate Research, the first endowment of its kind at UCLA, to inspire and reward UCLA undergraduates for outstanding library research now and for generations yet to come.

For more information about the Library Prize, including submission guidelines, please visit http://library.ucla.edu/support/support-students/showcasing-student-achievement/library-prize-undergraduate-research.

Cover page of Inchoate Unitary Visions: Tracing Nationalism in the Visual Culture of Korea’s International Expositions, 1893–1929

Inchoate Unitary Visions: Tracing Nationalism in the Visual Culture of Korea’s International Expositions, 1893–1929

(2021)

The Pavilion of Hangul pixels at the Expo 2010 in Shanghai attested to South Korea's booming economy and rising popularity of its culture in the contemporary era. However, Korea's early experience with expositions demonstrates its struggle with nation branding and autonomy. To debrief this tumultuous path, this paper examines the visual culture of Korea in international and national-scaled expositions from 1893 to 1929, encompassing the end of dynastic history, the short life of the Korean Empire, and the colonial era. The role of designership and audience in presenting Korean culture is analyzed under autonomous and colonial contexts. This research would serve to enhance the understanding of Korean nationalism through various visual representations of Korea and its culture in early modernity.

Cover page of Stimulating Antitrust Enforcement to Expand the Regenerative Agriculture Movement

Stimulating Antitrust Enforcement to Expand the Regenerative Agriculture Movement

(2021)

Competition in the agricultural marketplace has significantly declined as a result of decreasing antitrust enforcement and increasing consolidation. In the current market, the largest firms control disproportionate percentages of market power, threatening consumer prices, principles of equal economic opportunity, and viability of small firms. Agriculture contributes to 10.5 percent of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions. The necessary reduction of emissions is hindered by dominating large farms’ tendency to employ practices that increase emissions, contrary to small farms. Agriculture consolidation has increased due to non-precautionary approaches by the Supreme Court and federal regulation agencies. Specifically, the Supreme Court’s ruling that the “threat of loss of profits due to possible price competition” does not constitute antitrust harm, has hindered the implementation of the Clayton Act. Additionally, the federal agencies responsible for regulating mergers have increased the number of mergers they approve. The lack of strict antitrust regulation to prevent mergers from holding undue percentages of the marketplace is hindering the growth of regenerative farming, a set of practices that will be integral in combating climate change.

Cover page of Coronal Hole Detection using Machine Learning Techniques

Coronal Hole Detection using Machine Learning Techniques

(2021)

The detection and mapping of Coronal Holes (CH) in solar Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) images is useful for a variety of scientific and space weather prediction applications. Long-term averages of EUVI/STEREO A/B (195 Å) and SDO/AIA (193 Å) images are used to compute data-derived corrections for center-to-limb variations in images and intensity differences among instruments. The calculation of these corrections has been greatly simplified through modern database storage and querying techniques implemented in the image processing pipeline. After image processing, CH regions are detected using two primary machine learning methods: a convolutional neural network (CNN) and K-means clustering. Results are mapped on an image-by-image basis and merged to create EUV and CH maps. The merge-mapping process favors lower intensity data in areas of overlap, and an arbitrary number of images may be used, helping to mitigate the systematic issues of obscuration and evolution. With this flexible new framework and data-driven approach to CH detection, we explore methods for creating time-dependent coronal hole maps and evaluate their use for model comparisons.

Cover page of The Role of Diet and Exercise in the Gut Microbiota and Metabolism

The Role of Diet and Exercise in the Gut Microbiota and Metabolism

(2021)

Diet and exercise have been established as contributors to human health, but less is known about how they interact to impact the gut microbiota. Based on scientific literature and evolutionary evidence, a combination of a minimally-processed fiber-rich diet and regular physical activity can benefit almost everyone. Diet and exercise affect one another; eating fiber-rich foods may increase the efficiency of physical activity and performing physical activity alters hormones that regulate food intake. This review explores the mechanisms by which diet and exercise affect one another as well as how they affect SCFA production, gut microbial diversity, and gut barrier integrity.

Cover page of Time course of estrogen and progesterone induced lordosis in mice

Time course of estrogen and progesterone induced lordosis in mice

(2021)

Estrogen and progesterone regulate sexual receptivity by acting through a neuronal circuitry within the hypothalamus. Initially, estrogen inhibits lordosis behavior by inducing u-opioid receptor internalization. Estrogen also stimulates the expression of neuroprogesterone and progesterone receptors, through which progesterone acts to release the inhibition on lordosis. Therefore, the time course of hormone administration in female rodents is critical to elicit sexual receptivity. To understand this effect, ovariectomized female mice were grouped in one of the three time groups: 24 hours, 16 hours, and 48 hours between estrogen and progesterone treatment. Animals were treated with estrogen and progesterone, tested behaviorally, and sacrificed in order to perform immunohistochemistry for progesterone and u-opioid receptor expression. The 16- and 48-hour time group demonstrated significantly reduced lordosis quotients in comparison to the 24-hour group. No significant differences in progesterone receptor nor u-opioid receptor expression were found in either group, although the 16-hour group did present an upward trend in progesterone receptor expression. These findings highlight the temporal dependence of estrogen’s action in the hypothalamus which eventually facilitate sexual receptivity.

It’s Always Sunny in Central LA

(2021)

Increasingly high temperatures in Southern California often result in an unequal experience to heat, with lower-income communities and communities of color disproportionately facing the negative effects of heat. Although public parks offer a prime avenue for heat mitigation, features of parks are not equally distributed. This study focuses on the central Los Angeles neighborhood of Westlake and analyzes its two largest parks: MacArthur and Lafayette park. This study finds these parks are located in areas of relatively low income, with high population density and renter-occupied housing. The project also incorporates how the history of the parks and the features available within the space, such as tree canopy cover, bodies of water, and recreational offerings can potentially impact the parks’ heat-mitigating effects. Through demographic research, archival newspaper photographs, geospatial mapping and analysis, and references to current studies on heat and urban parks, this study aims to produce a narrative on the heat-mitigating effects of these parks within the greater Westlake neighborhood.

Cover page of Voicing the Fox: Vulpine Bodies and the Zoopolitics of Listening

Voicing the Fox: Vulpine Bodies and the Zoopolitics of Listening

(2021)

Tracking how red foxes have been constituted by humans though sound, specifically through articulations of voice, this project locates the fox as a liminal figure in the Western cultural imaginary, subject to conditional appraisals of personhood. Interpreting three disparate cultural sites wherein red foxes come to be “voiced” by humans – via representation in early twentieth-century opera, the listening practices of a New Jersey foxhunting community, and recent discourses around internet videos featuring rescued fur-farm foxes – I ask how the voice is mobilized to demarcate, police, and legitimize boundaries of non/personhood along and across species lines.

A Battle of Two Fronts: Effects of COVID-19 and Social Stigma on the Undocumented Latinx Community in California

(2021)

By following the story of “Juan,” we have isolated a number of possible explanations as to how and why this stigma has had such a devastating result. This episode will focus on governmental regulation of and rhetoric towards undocumented immigrants that has perpetuated a cycle of mistrust, resulting in an epidemic of undocumented Latinx peoples who fear the healthcare system. In addition, by examining pre-existing conditions and access to healthcare in undocumented Latinx communities, we attempt to explain the connection between stigma, the pandemic, and adverse health outcomes in these communities.

Podcast: https://share.descript.com/view/NOXq11QUqcM 

  • 1 supplemental PDF

Environmental DNA as a Tool For Assessing Microbial Diversity & Ecological Impacts by Contaminants at a Brownfield Site in Southern California

(2020)

Brownfield sites are properties with the presence of hazardous substances, toxicpollutants, or contaminants. Based on environmental regulations, these abandoned sitesare considered non-usable due to the presence of a high level of organic and inorganictoxic chemicals. Revitalization of Brownfield sites has ecological, economical and publichealth implications for the local communities. Our designated Brownfield site is locatedon the southern California Central groundwater basin and approximately 8 miles east ofthe Los Angeles River, and was previously used as a steel mill and more recently as a gasstation. In this study, our goal is to provide a baseline for the microbial community inassociation to the presence of heavy metals and toxic volatile chemical leaks resultingfrom previous activities. We employed the environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcodingapproach on soil samples collected from the site at different depths and transects toprovide a profile of microbial communities directly associated with toxic hazardousmaterials. The bacterial soil composition analysis shows the overall bacterial compositionof the site is altered compared to control; with the class of Acidobacteria being moreabundant in the core and depth soil samples. This class of bacteria can tolerate highlyacidic and heavy metal-containing soils. The identification of bacterial mixture can be agateway to classifying microorganisms that consume or breakdown environmentalpollutants and could be used for future bioremediation purposes.

  • 1 supplemental PDF
Cover page of Bringing Early Modern England to Life

Bringing Early Modern England to Life

(2020)

The early modern period in England (c. 1500-1800) is often best remembered for dramatic developments that transformed the political, religious and economic life of the country. Henry VIII’s rejection of the papacy in the 1530s severed the English church and its worshippers from the wider Catholic community. In 1649, the execution of Charles I at the end of the Civil War marked the beginning of a transformation in the relationship between king and people. That relationship continued to evolve and in 1689, it was recast in the Bill of Rights, which subordinated the Crown to the people. The economy thrived through much of the period and by the eighteenth century England was both a leader in European and in the overseas colonies for which so many nations vied. This exhibit seeks to explore the lives of ordinary people who lived through these dramatic events. While such developments were important, they did not always gure in the everyday lives of those who were not members of the political nation. For them, concerns about their work, families, education and spiritual lives loomed larger than the activities and debates taking place at Westminster. The objects here reveal the concerns, desires and fears of some of the English people during the early modern era and how they sought to manage them--not always successfully.