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AEP offers UC San Diego undergraduates the opportunity to obtain valuable research-oriented academic or professional preparation in virtually any academic major including science, math, engineering, social sciences and the arts and humanities. AEP initiatives are designed to encourage such students to pursue postbaccalaureate Ph.D.'s, MDs and others by providing them the experience of conducting research under the guidance of UC San Diego faculty mentors and to present research findings at noted undergraduate research conferences in the company of peers and established scientists.

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There are 6 publications in this collection, published between 2020 and 2021.
Challenger: A McNair Scholars Paper Series (6)

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.

Controlling Two Languages: Cost-Benefit Analysis of Immersion in Second-Language Learning

One of the most efficient methods to learn a second language (L2) is through immersion in a country where that language is spoken. What aspects of language immersion enable adult learners to acquire an L2 more efficiently? An obvious consequence of immersion is more frequent and varied exposure to the L2, but another possibility is that immersion makes it easier to inhibit the first language (L1). If so, learning an L2 would involve cognitive mechanisms that lead to some benefits but also produce some cost to the learner, and if so, it would be of interest to know exactly how and to what extent does immersion negatively impact the learner? In this study, we tested a group of eleven English-speaking college students learning Italian through a study abroad program in Rome, Italy for a period of eight weeks. We predicted that language immersion would reduce fluency in the L1, in order to obtain the benefit of acquiring greater gains in fluency in the L2. To test this, participants completed a language history questionnaire and a verbal fluency task in both English and Italian on the first and last days of the term. On average, participants’ levels of Italian fluency increased and to a greater extent than any losses to their L1, which trended in the direction of an inhibitory effect, but not significantly so. These findings consider the possibility that foreign language acquisition is influenced primarily by frequency effects in the L2, and therefore not entirely due to an inhibitory mechanism on the L1.

Amor y Apoyo: Lecciones de Latinx Families in Nourishing Resilience to First and Second-Generation College Students

The present qualitative study aims to understand how Latino/Hispanic herea er referred to as Latinx, parent involvement is different or similar among first- and second-generation college students in how they experience higher education and how parental education impacts the use of student support services. Hence, supporting Latinx student retention by developing university and parental relationships. Second-generation college students and Latinx parents were unable to be included in the study because of their scarcity or hesitation of participating. Therefore, participants included a convenience sample of six first-generation undergraduate students from a 4-year institution. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to obtain their stories of parental involvement and student involvement. Results suggest that (1) first-generation college students experience a hands-off involvement from parents, however, they enjoyed the freedom this brought, (2) Latinx parents might have a misunderstanding of college student identity, and (3) students expressed a desire to have their parents learn about and understand mental health. Implications of findings include universities creating more resources to support Latinx students’ mental health, as well as earlier school outreach for Latinx parent involvement to better inform them about the college lifestyle.

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