EDWARD AMARO
Project Title
: The impact of ethnicity on the lived college experience of UCSB Latinx students
Project Description: As a Latino man, I’ve noticed that ethnicity is strongly emphasized within the Latinx community. Despite being bonded by the same language, the strong diversity in our cultures (e.g. music, food, cultural attire, ways of being, etc.) sets us apart from one another. Therefore, thought it would be interesting to look into ethnicity and its potential impact on students’ college experience. My research focuses on answering the following question: Within the Latinx, community if/how does ethnicity impact a student’s lived college experience at UCSB?
Faculty Mentor: Caren Converse
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JONATHAN CLOUGHESY
Project Title: Sitting Down: A Self-Regulatory Intervention for the Establishment of a Mindfulness Meditation Practice
Project Description: Sitting Down is a project in collaboration with the UCSB Center for Mindfulness & Human Potential in an effort to facilitate the development of a sustainable mindfulness meditation practice. We will design an intervention that draws on motivational and self-regulatory principles, helping students to incorporate this age-old practice into their modern, hectic lives. Beyond the intervention, Sitting Down will investigate university students’ understanding of, attitudes toward, and experiences with mindfulness-based practices. By broadening our awareness of the misperceptions and barriers that prevent students from engaging with mindfulness, future interventions can be designed to most effectively overcome these obstacles.
Faculty Mentor: Jennifer Johnson
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Annika Erickson
Project Title: The Power of the Midnight Oil: The Correlation Between Procrastination and Creativity in Upper Division Writing Courses
Project Description:
Faculty Mentor: Kenny Smith

MATTHEW GARNICA
Project Title: Food Waste in California Universities
Project Description: My project aims to examine food conservation methods in universities across California. I will investigate ways in which these institutions distribute and conserve food products to their students in ways that differ from UC Santa Barbara. I will ultimately create a proposal that stems from my findings to present a food distribution system based on efficient conservation and waste. I will publish and submit this proposal to hopefully influence UC Santa Barbara, as well as other California universities, to make a change in effectively reducing food waste.
Faculty Mentor: Auli Ek
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ANNMARIE GRIFFIN
Project Title: The invisible identity: Influence of religion on the college student and community
Project Description: This project will investigate the impact of religion on the lives of college students. Much of the project will consist of one-on-one interviews with students of various faiths, some who have converted to particular religions, and some who have left an organized religion. The interviews will give insight into personal experience and different ways in which faith and philosophies shape students’ lives beyond just time commitments. The purpose of these interviews is to link actual members of our community to broader ideas about religion and allow the community to consider the faiths of others in more than just the abstract.
Faculty Mentor: Peter Huk
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MARGARET MACCOUN
Project Title: Creating Beautiful Sites
Project Description: My project gives me the opportunity to marry my passions for writing and community service, in the context of creative web design. First, I will create a personal site that will allow me to develop my online brand. Next, I will implement a new website for a local non-profit, and serve as the lead writer for this site. My goal is to learn more about digital web design while also giving back to the Santa Barbara community.
Faculty Mentor: Auli Ek

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RICARDO MORENO
Project Title: In the Background
Project Description: I look to plant greater awareness, empathy and respect for the undocumented and immigrant workforce in Isla Vista by interviewing the individuals then sewing together a multimedia presentation composed of narratives, poems and photographs that strike at the essence of their lives and efforts. Moreover, throughout this journey I will attempt to alleviate some of the stresses they face by carefully blueprinting a plan based on their many inputs.
Faculty Mentor: Bob Krut
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GABE RUNTE
Project Title: A Contemporary “Land Ethic”: Inspired Voices in the Age of Climate Change
Project Description: The goal of this project will be to illustrate the individual connections that have drawn a number of inspired individuals to become advocates for conservation and environmental mitigation. Diverse professionals from extreme athletes to small-scale farmers have taken it upon themselves to use their positions to create the greatest impact possible, so why don’t we all? The hope is that this project will shed light on the accessibility of advocacy. Politicians and climate scientists too must drive us forward, but each and every person can make a difference.
Faculty Mentor: Amy Propen
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JASMINE SALIK
Project Title: Cultivating Environmentally-Mindful Living in College
Project Description: A lot of people are concerned for the well being of our planet. Although there are currently many efforts made attempting to reverse the damage done to the environment, little has been done to change the mindset that causes one of the most pressing problems of the 21st century. It seems like many eco-friendly students at UCSB are concerned about the plastic waste discarded in the ocean, for instance, but don’t recognize the waste they create themselves due to non-sustainable overspending. I will present achievable and effective methods any UCSB student can adopt in their day-to-day lives in order to cut down on over-consuming and therefore cut down on excess waste.
Faculty Mentor: Ljiljana Coklin
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WENDY SANTAMARIA & SUDEEP DHANOA
Project Title: The United States of ALEC: Dismantling the Exploitation of the 99%
Project Description: Our research project will investigate the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a nationwide nonprofit composed of state legislators and representatives of corporations and other private interests. ALEC works to create bills that are disguised to seem unbiased, yet they are designed to benefit corporations at the expense of America’s middle and working classes. With our faculty mentor, Heather Steffen, our goal is to investigate the operations of ALEC to determine why they have so much power over our legislative system and to raise awareness about ALEC, in order to spark action to limit ALEC’s influence through an awareness campaign at UCSB that might spread nationally.
Faculty Mentor: Heather Steffen
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KIRPA SINGH
Project Title: Exploring Mental Otherness
Project Description: My Project is a four part fictional novel that follows the lives of 4, unconnected women who each live with one of 4 diagnoses. The book will be in the first person point of view and will show how these fictional women handle the struggles that come with mental otherness. These women are entirely fictional, however, their experiences will be based on true events. I will be interviewing multiple women from different walks of life who live with different forms of mental otherness and put their experiences to paper and incorporate their experiences into one of the four fictional women’s lives.
Faculty Mentor: Patrick McHugh
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Ali Suebert
Project Title: Girl Talk: Reducing Recidivism in the Female Juvenile Prison Population
Project Description: This project’s aim is to research the California Juvenile prison system to better answer the question: Is it benefiting young girls by reducing recidivism? Additionally, it will investigate new, upcoming correctional tactics used by the justice system, such as collaborative court settings, to see whether these programs better meet the needs of young women in the system. The goal is to better understand what resources are working for young girls and what resources are not. Through research and interviews, this project will incorporate academic articles and first-hand testimony to move one step closer to understanding how the California justice system benefits young girls.
Faculty Mentor: Gina Genova
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KOMAL SURANI
Project Title: STEM Majors and Creative Writing
Project Description: My project will seek to understand the way STEM majors feel about creative writing. Last year, I did a similar study about the way STEM majors feel about writing. What I found was that STEM majors did think writing was important for their futures, but that they didn’t enjoy writing or think they were good at it, because they almost never had classes that attempted to engage them in writing. With this study, I hope to gain a better understanding of the way that STEM majors view creative writers, and why some of them believe that they cannot creatively write. Ultimately, I hope to understand how our education system can be bettered to encompass writing courses that cater to the needs of STEM majors.
Faculty Mentor: Amanda Stansell
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JONATHAN WALLACE & KAILYN KAUSEN
Project Title: Spectrum Literary Journal, 61st Edition
Project Description: We are working on the newest edition of the Spectrum Literary Journal. While evaluating work from new and emerging writers for this edition, we will promote the journal through social media, literary communities, advertising, blogging, and our attendance at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference. By the end of the year, our goal is to get the physical journal in the UCSB bookstore and Davidson Library.
Faculty Mentor: Kara Mae Brown
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