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20th Annual Undergraduate Symposium for
Scholarly & Creative Work

Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Keynote Speaker: Michael Kassner

2018 Symposium Program

2018 Awards Banquet Program

2018 Undergraduate Symposium Prize Winners

$1000 First Prizes and $500 Second Prizes were awarded in each category


12 submissions

Honorable Mention
Noelle Brimble
Seeing Red
Faculty Sponsor: Holly Willis, Media Arts + Practice, School of Cinematic Arts
Honorable Mention
Belinda Pak
DIY Seismic Wall Paneling & Shelving System
Faculty Sponsor: Sofia Borges, School of Architecture
2nd Prize
Josephine (Jay) Kihiu,
African Tears Sold Separately
Faculty Sponsor: Emily Zeamer, Anthropology, Dornsife College
1st Prize
Elizabeth (Lily) Harty, Karla Luna Cantu, Jason Phillips
The Fringes
Faculty Sponsor: Brenda Goodman, Production, School of Cinematic Arts; Helaine Head, Production, School of Cinematic Arts
Interdisciplinary Award
Nicole Blue
WastedLA: A Critique on Systemic Models of Waste
Faculty Sponsor: Andy Ku, School of Architecture; Virginia Kuhn, Ph.D., Media Arts + Practice,


14 submissions

Honorable Mention
Rosebud Campion
Forging the Folk: The Development of a National Musical Identity in Edwardian England
Faculty Sponsor: Lisa Cooper Vest, Music History and Literature, Thornton School of Music; Philip Ethington, History, Dornsife College; Lindsay O’Nei
Honorable Mention
Kevin Mercy
Revelations from Lidar: Maya Ground Reconnaissance
Faculty Sponsor: Thomas Garrison, Ithaca College Department of Anthropology; Kenneth
2nd Prize
Rachel Tang
How to Name a Heartbreak: Text, Titles and the Poetry of Didacticism in American Activist Art
Faculty Sponsor: Rebecca Peabody, Art History, Dornsife College
1st Prize
Mary Cate Hickman
Spanish Politics and Religious Monuments: The Case of the Mosque-Cathedral of Córdoba
Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Lyn Boyd-Judson, Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics, Dornsife College
Interdisciplinary Award
Rachel Kartin, Thomas Zhang
Saints in Cyprus: Creating Interactive Research Materials for the Painted Medieval Churches of the Troodos Mountain Range
Faculty Sponsor: Marilyn Lundberg Melzian, Religion, Dornsife College; Bruce Zuckerman, Religion, Dor

Life Sciences I

23 submissions

Honorable Mention
Ryan Brankovic
Three-dimensional shape and locomotor function of the carnivoran pelvis
Faculty Sponsor: Kristi Lewton, Integrative Anatomical Sciences, Keck School of Medicine
Honorable Mention
Rahil Khasgiwale
Leg movement rate pre- and post-kicking intervention in infants with Down syndrome
Faculty Sponsor: Beth Smith, Division of Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy
2nd Prize
Sandhyarani Gullapalli
Potential Local Adaptation to Stress in Mitochondrial and Nuclear Protein Degradation Measured in Lon Protease and Proteasome Activity in a Widely Distributed Intertidal Marine Organism
Faculty Sponsor: Kelvin Davies, Davis School of Gerontology
2nd Prize
Kylie Burdsall
Towards the Structure of the Melanocortin 4 Receptor
Faculty Sponsor: Raymond Stevens, Chemistry, Dornsife College; Ariel Wein, Chemistry, Dornsife College
1st Prize
Aamna Asif
On the male disadvantage: generation and characterization of a male specific mouse model of bronchopulmonary dysplasia
Faculty Sponsor: Gianluca Turcatel, Keck School of Medicine
Interdisciplinary Award
Kevin Jiang
Changes in Mouse Ultrasonic Vocalization Syllables and Syntax Across Social Contexts
Faculty Sponsor: Allison Knoll, Keck School of Medicine; Pat Levitt, Keck School of Medicine

Life Sciences II

26 submissions

Honorable Mention
Christina Sisliyan
Is the Adaptive Homeostatic Response to Oxidative Stress Sexually Divergent in D. melanogaster?
Faculty Sponsor: Kelvin Davies, Davis School of Gerontology
Honorable Mention
David Kim
Assessing ALS hallmarks in transgenic mouse models and their utility in drug discovery
Faculty Sponsor: Justin Ichida, Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Keck School of Medicine; Kim Staats, Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine
2nd Prize
Sarah Wong
The Gut and Nervous System – Sex-Specific Adaptation to Oxidative Stress Conferred through Tissue-Specific Adaptation in D. Melanogaster
Faculty Sponsor: Kelvin Davies, Davis School of Gerontology; John Tower, Molecular and Computational Biology
1st Prize
Jamie Clarke
Melanin-Concentrating Hormone in the Ventral Hippocampus Increases Food Impulsivity in Rats
Faculty Sponsor: Scott Kanoski, Human and Evolutionary Biology, Dornsife College; Emily Noble, Human and Evolutionary Biology, Dornsife College

Physical Sciences, Mathematics & Engineering

31 submissions

Honorable Mention
Benjamin Banet
A Photographic Light Pollution Assessment across Western Public Lands
Faculty Sponsor: Travis Longcore, Spatial Sciences Institute, Dornsife College
2nd Prize
Eliza Gutierrez-Dewar
Spatiotemporal Analysis of Illuminated Boats at Night
Faculty Sponsor: Travis Longcore, School of Architecture and Spatial Sciences Institute, Dornsife College
1st Prize
Juan Rincon, Juliana Tichota
Evaluating the Performance of Bio-adsorber Technology in the Removal of Gasoline and its Toxic and Carcinogenic Components from Groundwater
Faculty Sponsor: Massoud Pirbazari, Viterbi School of Engineering
Interdisciplinary Award
Ryland Mortlock
Building a Computational Model to Stimulate Beta Cell Regeneration In Vivo
Faculty Sponsor: Stacey Finley, Viterbi School of Engineering; Senta Georgia, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Social Sciences I

20 submissions

Honorable Mention Lillian Dyre, Rae Lan, Aarohi Mahableshwarkar
Malnutrition in India: A Case Study of Urban and Rural Regions
Faculty Sponsor: Erin Quinn, Sociology, Dornsife College
Honorable Mention Anbar Aizenman
Mobile Money Substitution Patterns With Financial Services: Evidence From Kenya
Faculty Sponsor: Juan Saavedra, Center for Economic and Social Research, Dornsife College
2nd Prize Ariana Arzani
Constitutionality of Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Laws
Faculty Sponsor: Alison Renteln, Political Science, Dornsife College
1st Prize Lisa De Rafols, Eva Isakovic
Autocratic Lobbying Strategies: A case study on Russia and Ukraine during the Euromaidan Revolution
Faculty Sponsor: Erin Baggott Carter, School of International Relations, Dornsife College; Brett Carter, School of International Relations, Dornsife College
Interdisciplinary Prize Award Grace Corsi, Julian Herren, Christian Lance Relleve
Shade Structures of the Future: Innovative Skin Cancer Solutions
Faculty Sponsor: Darren Ruddell, Spatial Sciences Institute, Dornsife College; Jennifer Swift, Spatial Sciences Institute, Dornsife College

Social Sciences II

24 submissions

Honorable Mention Merai Estafanous, Afsara (Sara) Haque, Arianna Lane, Daniel Like, Tsam (Sanny) Ning, Jillian Pih, Olivia Shin, Jisoo Suh
Where you go is connected to how you feel: Links between median neighborhood income and depressive symptoms among young adults
Faculty Sponsor: Gayla Margolin, Psychology, Dornsife College
Honorable Mention Catherine Wang
Linguistic Encoding of Subjectivity in News Discourse’
Faculty Sponsor: Elsi Kaiser, Linguistics, Dornsife College
2nd Prize Arianna Lane
Does our Language Reflect How We Feel? Gender Differences in Word Use relative to Mood and Depressive Symptoms
Faculty Sponsor: Sarah Barrett, Psychology, Dornsife College; Sohyun Han, Clinical Science, Dornsife College; Gayla Margolin, Psychology, Dornsife College
1st Prize Jacob Schwessinger
Linguistics and Climate Change: Does Language Affect Climate Change Response?
Faculty Sponsor: Ekaterina Svyatets, Environmental Studies, Dornsife College
Interdisciplinary Award Madelyn Mendlen
Productivity and Emotional Response in Child Forensic Interviews
Faculty Sponsor: Victor Ardulov, Viterbi School of Engineering; Manoj Kumar, Viterbi School of Engineering; Shrikanth Narayanan, Viterbi School of Engineering

Digital Media

2nd Prize
Kate Crellin
Transgender Students in the Choral Classroom: Creating Safe & Accepting Environments
Faculty Sponsor: Cristian Grases, Thornton School of Music
1st Prize Roxanna Pakkar
Socially Assistive Robotics for Kids with Autism
Faculty Sponsor: Maja Matarić, Viterbi School of Engineering

USC Schwarzenegger Institute

2nd Prize Christian Gayle
Stop Spreading the News: Ideology and the Spread of Fake News Within Social Media
Faculty Sponsor: Jo Ann Farver, Psychology, Dornsife College
1st Prize Austin Chow, Haoshi (Joanna) Wang, Richard Windisch
Geospatial Applications for Residential Stormwater Capture for the City of Los Angeles
Faculty Sponsor: Beau MacDonald, Spatial Sciences Institute, Dornsife College; John Wilson, Spatial Sciences Institute, Dornsife College

American Physiological Society

Honorable Mention Jacqueline Gonzalez
Deregulated mafr-1 in the germline alters organismal lipid homeostasis
Faculty Sponsor: Sean Curran, Davis School of Gerontology; Amy Hammerquist, Davis School of Gerontology
2nd Prize Anthony Jusuf
Cetuximab Induced Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Colorectal Cancer
Faculty Sponsor: Colleen Garvey, Keck School of Medicine; Shannon Mumenthaler, Keck School of Medicine
1st Prize Carina Seah
Apilimod is a novel drug candidate that rescues cellular pathology in mouse models of C9ORF72 ALS
Faculty Sponsor: Justin Ichida, Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Keck School of Medicine