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Open Access Publications from the University of California


The Undergraduate Research Hub (URH) empowers undergraduates seeking to become integrated in the UC San Diego research community with the skills to be successful in a post-baccalaureate career. URH’s cooperative staff creates an environment for students to engage in research and leverage resources to maintain long-term relationships through high impact practices. URH welcomes students from diverse backgrounds seeking to maximize their student experiences and future opportunities.

Undergraduate Research Hub

There are 15 publications in this collection, published between 2020 and 2022.
Challenger: A McNair Scholars Paper Series (12)

Achieving Sustainability in Aviation

Over the past century, carbon emissions have continuously spiked to new levels every year. Subsequently the need for renewable and sustainable energy to be implemented into various industries is necessary now more than ever. The aviation sector is no exception; it remains one of the most popular forms of travel. Thus, it is crucial to consider its part in both carbon and overall emissions on a global scale. This report entails a comparative assessment of the benefits and flaws associated with aviation along with the advancement of incorporating sustainable aircraft technology. Additionally, I will be paying close attention to the patterns air travel emissions follow with respect to contributions from overall global emissions. Different forms of primary energy such as biofuels, electricity, and electrofuels are considered to analyze the benefits of their implementation. I also focus on methods of combustion, aerodynamics, design, and overall performance to aid me in comparing time sensitive implementations for the future of air travel. The Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) and United Airlines’ use of a biofuel/jet fuel mixture is used as a case study to extrapolate emissions on a larger scale. Finally, I use short-term and long-term years (2035 and 2050, respectively) to conclude what reasonable implementations can support the decarbonization of air travel.

Setting the Table: An Exploration of Chamoru Fiestas as a Site of Indigenous Survivance in the Wake of White Settler Colonialism

Within the multi-tones of blue that dress the waters of the Pacific Ocean lies Guåhan, the southernmost and largest island in the Mariånas archipelago. Guåhan and the other fourteen islands that make up this crescent chain are the collective ancestral homelands of the Indigenous Chamorus. Within Western hegemony, stories about Guåhan and Chamorus are inextricably rooted in a deeply colonial past and present. What began as Spanish “discovery” in 1521 turned into three-hundred years of theft of native land and livelihood. What began as Japanese “occupation” in 1941 turned into three years of unjustified violence and death of thousands of Chamorus. What began (and remains) as the facade of American “liberation” during World War II resulted in the division of the Mariåna Islands into the territorial and commonwealth statuses of Guåhan and the Northern Mariåna Islands, respectively—euphemisms for what can be concisely defined as white settler colonialism of Indigenous lands. These colonial histories remain reminiscent in the daily lived experiences of Chamorus, which is most evident when looking at American militarization of Guåhan. For instance, the United States military possesses nearly a third of the island, which includes natural resources and ancestral villages that are inaccessible to the Indigenous community. Chamorus, per capita, are the largest group of recruits enlisted into the American military, but as residents of an overseas colony, they are unable to vote in the presidential election for their commander-in-chief. This is just to name a few, but these facts alone paint a picture of how the status quo of white settler colonialism has been especially understood as a strictly militaristic event. My research does not seek to condemn or disregard this understanding; rather, it works to create a more holistic image of white settler colonialism within the context of Chamoru culture in Guåhan outside the hypervisibility of militarism, which I analyze at the site of the fiesta. By using the fiesta, a revered celebration in Chamoru culture, as the optic, I explore how its constituent parts partake in the ongoing vanishment of Chamoru indigeneity and perpetuates white settler colonial remnants. Most importantly, I look at how contemporary Chamorus have reclaimed the fiesta as a space of survivance.

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The Catalyst: Propelling Scholars Forward (3)

Climate Refugees and Accountability

The adverse effects of climate change are destroying communities. Rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and changing weather patterns are drastically threatening the living conditions and the livelihoods of people globally, forcing them to flee their homes and become “climate refugees.” Although there are many contributors to the perpetuation of climate change, including governments, corporations and individuals, this research focuses on the role of multinational enterprises, some of whom are large carbon emitters. Should they be held accountable for their direct and slow-onset contributions to the displacement of people, and if so, to what extent?

What Does Compassion Mean to the Black Community of San Diego?

Due to many historical injustices, communities of color have often felt misused by medicine at large. There is a cycle of distrust and general unpleasantness with healthcare providers. Unfortunately, the injustices haven’t stopped, as many people of color feel that those in the medical profession lack one of the basic qualities that are needed in healthcare: compassion. In many research studies about compassion, healthcare professionals and other experts define compassion. However, the people we should be asking are not the providers themselves, but the patients, as they are the ones that will know if they receive compassionate care. Focusing research like this on communities of color, especially since there is already distrust, is important. Although research on compassion has increased, there is little data on how under-resourced, culturally, and ethnically diverse communities define compassion, which can help mitigate the health disparities plaguing these communities. This study will help delineate how compassionate the healthcare industry is, and if it is not, what work can be done to make it more compassionate. A purposely made survey was created with a focus group of Black community leaders, non-profit founders, and physicians from San Diego. This survey is composed of questions that target experiences and attitudes towards physicians and healthcare providers for people from the Black community to expand on. Therefore, the Black community, across all socioeconomic groups, can be directly asked what compassion personally means to them, allowing us to finally understand ‘What Does Compassion Mean to the Black Community of San Diego?’

Queer Immersion in Persona 4 Golden

This paper focuses on two characters from the digital game Persona 4 Golden (2008, rev. 2012) who harbor shame around their queerness. During the course of the game, these two characters – Kanji and Naoto – undergo a form of “group therapy” and self-acceptance to resolve that shame. Throughout this process, Persona 4 Golden creates an immersive experience where players become and also assist the two characters in grappling with their shame. This interaction with shame is particularly effective when queer players immerse themselves in the game, as the objectives of confronting and reconciling with characters’ queer shame compound with their own journey of navigating their queerness. Consequently, queer players may find Persona 4 Golden to be therapeutic.