Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Catalyst, founded summer of 2021, is an inclusive, open access paper series at UCSD which aims to empower the voices of students who have a passion for conducting research. We welcome any and all students who are interested in publishing their work, and we are dedicated to fostering a diverse community of interdisciplinary scholarship. Through this journal, we:

  • Emphasize helping new students find their path in research, and aim to help publish new (and especially underrepresented) scholars. 

  • Do not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, disability, age, medical condition, ancestry, marital status, citizenship, or sexual orientation.

  • Are an academic organization connected to UC San Diego Undergraduate Research Hub.

This journal was founded with the intention of supporting those who are passionate about their studies. We encourage any student interested in research to get involved. Seriously. We understand that innovation comes in many different forms.

Whether a scholar is distinguished in their field or is brand new to research, we are here to help them grow.

Whether a scholar is publishing a paper on neuroscience or an arrangement of artistic works (or anything in between), we are here to feature and celebrate their work.

If you are interested in getting involved with our organization as an author, please see our guidelines and submission criteria below. It contains a lot of helpful info as well as external links to our project/journal interest form.

Guidelines and Submission Criteria

Interest Form

If you have any questions or concerns, or if you are interested in getting involved with The Catalyst’s executive board, don't hesitate to contact us at!

Below, you can find work by student authors featured in our recent volumes.

Cover page of Queer Immersion in Persona 4 Golden

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.

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

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?’

Cover page of Climate Refugees and Accountability

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?