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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Welcome to the UC Merced Undergraduate Research Journal, a fully Open Access publication of research conducted by undergraduates at the University of California, Merced.

UC Merced Undergraduate Research Journal

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Social Sciences

Necessary Reconstruction: The Child Welfare System

This research has been composed of both primary and secondary research aimed to shine light on the most pressing issues within the child welfare system. It not only demonstrates the detrimental tolls the system has had on the children but also the tolls it has had on the public servants working within the system. This research is a gateway to awareness of the realities and necessary changes the system so desperately needs.

Addressing Gender & Sexuality in the Classroom and the Effects on Adolescents

This literature review presents research examining the school environment for LGBTQ students and the type of effects a positively and negatively perceived environment can have on these students as well as on educators and peers. Bullying and harassment are still a concern in schools despite there having been advancements in anti-bullying programs and policies (Poteat & Vecho, 2016). This is especially true for LGBTQ students. There have been recent changes in the sociopolitical climate and the movement to support this group of students but still, they continue to face harassment and lack of support from the educators and school administrations (Dragowski, McCabe, & Rubinson, 2016).

Not only do LGBTQ students face difficulty with their peers and even teachers but also with their education. There is pushback against more inclusive sexual education that addresses sexuality beyond heteronormativity and gender nonconformity (Gegenfurtner & Gebhardt, 2017). However, we see that it is this lack of education that can result in LGBTQ students not feeling safe in schools because uneducated students may harass them and teachers may not know how to respond when a student is being harassed or is in need of someone to talk to (Dragowski et al., 2016).

This literature review will look at what LGBTQ students face at school in regard to bullying from their peers as well as discussions for and against discussing gender and sexuality in the classroom and what affects both having and not having school support has on the LGBTQ students. Literature that discussed elementary aged children or college aged students were excluded. Research was limited between the years of 2013 and 2018 with the exception of Heteronormativity, school climates, and perceived safety for gender nonconforming peers by Toomey, R. B., McGuire, J. K., & Russell, S. T., 2012.

For this literature review, “adolescence” has been defined as: being between the ages of 13 and 19; being of middle school and high school age. “Heteronormativity” has been defined in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) as “[t]he property or quality of being heteronormative; the privileging of biologically determined gender roles and heterosexuality”. “Gender nonconformity” has been defined by Merriam Webster as “a state in which a person has physical and behavioral characteristics that do not correspond with those typically associated with the person's sex”.

The databases used to find the literature were: Science Direct, specifically looking in the Journal of School Psychology; Wiley Online Library database, specifically in the journal Psychology for the Schools; and psychARTICLES in ProQuest. The key words used were: “gender”, “sexuality”, “LGBTQ”, and “gender” AND “sexuality”.

Hispanic Men's Perceptions About Depression and Attitudes Toward Mental Health Treatment


The following literature review analyzes different studies concerning the views and beliefs of Hispanic men regarding depression and their attitudes toward help-seeking behaviors. Men are less likely to be diagnosed with depression and utilize mental health services, compared to women, yet the suicide rates conflict with the previous statement (Rochlen et al., 2010). The purpose of this paper is to identify and discuss potential factors contributing to the underdiagnosis of depression in the Latino men population and the underutilization of mental health treatments. Factors discussed include stigma, masculine norms, male gender role conflict, cultural/religious beliefs, and treatment preference; they will be treated as perceived barriers to help-seeking behaviors. Coping strategies and protective factors will be discussed as an alternative to professional treatment. Conclusions suggest a need for further research and examination of each subgroup individually to address differences. The findings of this paper can be used to improve services and encourage Hispanic men to seek professional mental health treatment.

Keywords: depression, Hispanic/Latino men, stigma, help-seeking behaviors, protective factors

Virtual Reality: The Next American Meta-Medium

This research paper parallels Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Showbusiness by exploring how virtual reality would affect America based on the current development for virtual reality.

The Cognitive Conditions Associated with Academic Dishonesty in University Students and Its Effect on Society

The problem of cheating in universities has existed as long as education itself; however, the problem has gotten exponentially worse in recent years. While consequences of cheating are not as noticeable today, the growing numbers of students cheating will have detrimental effects to the society of humans. The act of cheating to complete course work creates a mentality deprived of life satisfaction through hard work as well as incentives to live a dishonest life after college. The future society of the earth will depend upon competent innovators and strong leaders, of which are currently in college getting the education required to do so. Students who have cheated to get through college will be unprepared and unmotivated to continue leading the world on its current path towards a progressive future. It is up to current students to reduce the numbers of students cheating, such that, their graduating class will be full of intelligent innovators and motivational leaders instead of slackers that are desensitized to any form of satisfaction.


Natural Sciences

Analysis on the Possibility of RISC-V Adoption

As the interface between hardware and software, Instruction Set Architectures (ISAs) play a key role in the operation of computers. While both hardware and software have continued to evolve rapidly over time, ISAs have undergone minimal change. Since its release in 2010, RISC-V has begun to erode the industry aversion to ISA innovation. Established on the principals of the Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC), and as an open source ISA, RISC-V offers many benefits over popular ISAs like Intel’s x86 and Arm Holding’s Advanced RISC Machine (ARM).

In this literature review I evaluate the literature discussing:

What makes changing Instruction Set Architectures difficult

Why might the industry choose to implement RISC-V

When researching this topic I visited the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), INSPEC (Engineering Village), and ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Digital Library databases. I used the search terms, “RISC-V”, “Instruction Set Architecture”, “RISC-V” AND “x86”, and “RISC-V” AND “Instruction Set Architecture”. This literature review evaluates 10 papers on implementation of RISC-V. As this paper was intended to cover recent developments in the field, publication dates were limited to from 2015 to present.