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Select a field to read a short excerpt from the student's proposal.


The Neuroscience of Speech Production

"My field . . . aims to explore the neuronal activities that coordinate speech motor control, investigating the neurological underpinnings that make humans uniquely capable of producing speech..."

Race, Ethnicity and Power in the United States

"Structural racism, which essentially means racial divisions in accessing infrastructure, is evident throughout the U.S. The United States census reveals that in 2013, 24% of Hispanics and 16% of blacks lacked health insurance, compared to only 10% of whites. Access to these amenities is most clearly determined by wealth..."

Climate Change, Politics, and the Powerless

"From the climate-dependent evolution of the human species to global warming-induced famines which contributed to the Syrian refugee migration, climate change has already had an immense impact on society. Moreover, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects global warming will have a disproportionate effect on lower-GDP areas due to its effects on water resources, food security, and health..."

Art and Social Reconstruction in 20th Century Western Europe

"...I will study the interplay between art movements and socio-political revolutions from the 1930s to the 1970s. Focusing on the region of Western Europe, particularly Spain, Germany, and Italy, I will explore the art movements of street art, surrealism, and photography..."

Power, Empowerment, and Victimization

"...I propose to examine the psychology behind why individuals and groups feel either in power or perceive having a lack of power in society as well as within personal relationships. In this study, I hope to understand how those who are victims are able to empower themselves, and specifically look into what strategies they use in order to accomplish this."

Math, Science, and Metaphysics

"Many branches of science, such as physics or chemistry, often utilize mathematics to create scientific theories and laws to model nature. I wish to dig deeper into the manner in which mathematics and science work together to describe reality..."

Islam in Western Media

"...I intend to examine the changes in the media’s portrayal of Islam, specifically from 1965 to present day, and analyze the factors that have influenced these changes, mainly in the United States and Europe..."

Art Therapy

"I plan to concentrate on the creation of two-dimensional art as a therapeutic practice. The creation of two-dimensional art is utilized as a therapy method for patients with various types of brain irregularities (e.g. anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, etc.). I desire to determine the best objective method to study the benefits of art therapy..."

Humans and Design

"My proposed field of study, Humans and Design, will explore the impact of design on the emotions, interactions, and capabilities of individuals. By design, I mean both the design process (transforming an idea into a tangible object), and the influence of the product of design..."

Health Policy and Healthcare Reform

"According to The Commonwealth Fund, the U.S. population is considered the least healthy when compared to populations of other industrialized nations. The U.S. displays high rates of obesity and infant mortality and an overall low life expectancy. The study also shows that the U.S. ranks last in terms of healthcare efficiency and first in cost of health expenditures per capita..."

The Mathematical Aesthetic of Music

"In 2011 a mathematician composed what he referred to as “the ugliest piece of music” by applying a concept known as Golomb’s Ruler. The idea is that no two notes are the same interval apart, and every note is played once, resulting in music devoid of repetition. While superficially displeasing, it provides an intriguing example as to how mathematical algorithms can generate something aesthetically provocative..."

Computational Linguistics

"I propose to study the capabilities of computers to model and use human language. My study would include computer representations of the structure and meaning of various languages as well as methods of compiling linguistic data using automated algorithms."

Memory and Identity

"...I propose to examine the story of our past that each and every one of us tells ourselves..."

Oppression of Women in Mexico

"...I plan to look at Mexico’s subjugation of girls and women to boys and men. The longstanding cultural belief that women should hold traditional roles based on a patriarchal family structure has led to an environment in which women are denied the right to move away from submissive and dependent positions in relation to men..."

Balkans: Diversity, Community and Conflict

"The term 'Balkanization' the geopolitical concept of the breaking apart of a region into smaller volatile homogenous states, got its name from this region of the world. The falling apart of the former Yugoslavia serves as one such example. As states declared independence, civil war and violence erupted across the region. Bosnia suffered genocide as various ethnic groups in Bosnia fought one another. Along with the fragmentation, I am interested in efforts since the war to restructure society and address the wounds of conflict..."

The Biopsychosocial Components of Love

"My proposed field . . . aims to study how the human body and mind, as well as cultural influence, affect the initial attraction and development of passionate relationships."

Health and Healthcare of Hispanics in the United States

"Hispanics constitute the largest minority group in the U.S. However, a study performed by the Pew Hispanic Center in 2008 found that 22% of native-born and 30% of foreign-born Hispanics lack healthcare access. The economic status and educational achievement of lower-income Hispanic groups have conjointly led to low wage jobs that do not offer medical benefits..."

Epidemiology of the Plague in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

"...I aim to study the relationship between the epidemiology of the bubonic plague in the great European epidemic of 1347-1348 and compare it to the English epidemic of 1665. I will compare historical perspectives on the epidemiology of the two plague epidemics. I will also analyze how cultural differences between the peoples of the two time periods contributed to the spread of the epidemic..."

Collaboration and Entrepreneurial Problem Solving

"Collaboration is often praised as a means of prompting creative solutions and innovative ideas; nonetheless, complications common to typical group-work settings generate the opposite result by negatively affecting the productivity, interpersonal relationships and therefore the performance of a team..."

Conspiracies, Espionage, and the Cold War

"The United States and Soviet Union were rival superpowers during the Cold War; however, the two rivals never engaged in direct large-scale military conflict. They were deterred from direct conflict by the threat of mutually assured destruction -- therefore they engaged in indirect conflict. Direct large-scale conflicts were replaced by espionage, conspiracy, and covert actions.... I want to analyze espionage, conspiracy and other covert operations executed from 1946 and 1991 and their ethical implications..."

Music and Stagecraft

"I am interested in live ensemble performances of new works that are classical in nature and adventurous in presentation. The staging characteristics I would like to focus on primarily include projection and lighting design, extending to physical staging, acoustic design, and costuming, where these aspects play a crucial role in conveying narrative..."

Ethnomusicology and the Uses of Music

"In 1955, The Society for Ethnomusicology was established, and in 1960, the first Ethnomusicology department was established in the University of California at Los Angeles. The field finds its roots in comparative musicology, within which scholars would compare other cultures’ music to Western music. Ethnomusicologists, however, look at other cultures’ music on each respective cultures’ terms..."

Conservatism in the United States

"...I propose to examine the philosophical, historical, and psychological foundations of conservatism in the United States. I am particularly interested in studying the social and cognitive mechanisms that both common citizens and professional politicians use to determine and articulate their political affiliations."

Bioethical Policy

"Bioethical dilemmas have been with us for generations. The most prominent of these, abortion, became legal in the U.S. in 1973 and yet is still a controversial and turbulent issue. Legislation surrounding abortion still charges political debates and elections. However, I plan on focusing on bioethical policy issues will likely be dealing with in the near future."

Public Health in Latin America

"I plan to examine the impact public health programs have in Latin America, the challenges such programs face, and how they are viewed by local groups..."

The Ethics and Economics of Environmentalism

"My field investigates the motivations, costs, and consequences of environmental rights within ethical and economic contexts. 'The Ethics and Economics of Environmentalism' seeks to address societally relevant questions such as, 'How can we assign value to nature, both in moral and monetary senses?' 'How do ethical and economic theories inform environmental policy makers?' and 'Are saving the environment and maximizing economic prosperity mutually exclusive?'"

Asian Americans and the Arts

"...I will study how past American politics and Asian American culture have affected the progress, success, and identity of Asian American artists..."

Language and the Internet

"I’ll be using linguistic analysis and computational linguistics to create a rough model of grammatical patterns, establish a limited lexicon, and determine predominant themes in digital discourse from samples I may find and information from other research in the area."

Warring Empires: Sino-Japanese Relations

"'The tragedy of war is that it uses man’s best to do man’s worst,' Henry Fosdick once claimed. Unfortunately, this quote has proven to be a terrifyingly applicable description of Japanese - Chinese interactions in modern history. In my interdisciplinary field of study, 'Warring Empires: Sino-Japanese Relations,' I propose to explore the many military conflicts that have erupted between the two East Asian nations in the 1900s, with a specific emphasis on the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937 - 1945), as well as World War II (1939 - 1945)..."

Medical Entrepreneurship

"...I propose to investigate the mechanisms of entrepreneurship in the field of medicine. By mechanisms, I mean the logistics in creating new biotechnology, inventing new drugs and medical technology. Entrepreneurship will be defined as innovation involving new products, techniques or thinking in medicine..."

Stigma and Mental Illness in the United States

"According to the National Institute for Mental Health, 43.8 million U.S. adults suffer from mental illness, approximately 18.5 percent of the population. Of these who suffer, there is a significant treatment gap – patients who have received a diagnosis and are not being treated. Writing in Psychological Medicine, Drs. Corrigan, Druss, and Perlick stipulate that this gap can be largely attributed to the stigma associated with seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist..."

Food Culture in America

"...I intend to examine the psychological, sociological and economic factors specific to the United States that allow eating disorders, the obesity epidemic, childhood hunger and historically unparalleled food waste to coexist."

Information Interfaces and Friction

"We are constantly interacting with information, but the exchange is rarely without friction. Our eyes stumble over certain printed words, or wander and become disoriented while navigating software. We may take an incorrect action as a result, mispronouncing a word or clicking on the wrong item. Somehow, the interface, the thing that we are using to retrieve or modify the information, gets in the way..."

Art Conservation: Modern Materials and Methods

"Art conservation and archiving represents an increasingly demanding task in the modern world given the influx of new materials as well as the growing volume of pieces across a wide variety of areas that continually require care..."

Languages, Arts, and the Black Identity

"In my proposed field, Languages, Arts, and the Black Identity, I’ll explore modern African American culture and consciousness and how they are expressed through language and the arts. I would also like to focus on the intersectionality between race and gender/sexual identity."

Public Education in America

"The 2012 PISA test (Programme for International Student Assessment) placed America’s high schoolers at 36th in the world in mathematics, 28th in science, and 24th in reading. These are worrying results considering that the US spends around 13,000 dollars per student, a figure that only four other countries top..."

Public Transit in the United States

"There are many reasons to encourage Americans to use transit, yet nationally, it is a marginal mode of transportation, avoided, ignored, and often ridiculed. Understanding how our society arrived at the present state is the key to forming a smart transportation policy for the future."

Violence in America

"In my field of study, 'Violence in America,' I will examine the ways that actual and symbolic violence exist and interact with each other in America and American culture."

Sociocultural Perspectives on Transgender Health

"My field . . . will focus on the specific healthcare-related concerns of the transgender community, including access to hormone therapy, surgery, and mental health resources. It will also focus on how increased public discourse about transgender visibility and rights in modern popular media affects the public’s perspectives on the relevance or importance of specialized and accessible transgender healthcare."

Diet and Obesity in Latin America

"According to The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, '[Latin America] has become the most overweight [region]in the developing world.' In my field, I intend to examine the effects of the increasing availability of North American fast food and dietary habits on the health of Latin-Americans since 1970."

Phonaesthetics and Artificial Intelligence

"After performing data analysis on music from around the world, I hope to synthesize new music and identify musical features--such as harmony, melody, and rhythm--that are pleasing or displeasing to each culture. This study could help us understand what sounds melodious to different groups of people--including Alzheimer’s patients--and create this music with the aid of computers."

Applying Ethnobotany to Sustainability

"As the modern world has turned increasingly towards synthetic products for use in commercial and pharmaceutical industries, so have we lost our sense of biological literacy. Plants may hold the key to medical and agricultural advancements as well as sustainable infrastructure and fuels, yet their potential is largely neglected in today’s society."

The Business of Healthcare

"Few issues in the United States over the past decade have been as divisive as healthcare reform. With some conservative politicians vowing to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and just as many liberal ones ardently defending it, the true impact of the act has been lost in a maelstrom of politically charged rhetoric. Given the tremendous potential impact of the ACA, it is necessary to look past the partisan clouds surrounding the Act and carefully consider its possible effects on the healthcare industry."

The Rhythm of Language

"In metrical poetry, rhythm is imposed on the reader, while in prose, the reader is often unaware of any rhythmical characteristics. However, alongside every English word in the dictionary are instructions on inflection: stresses indicate the relative rhythm and pitch of syllables. While readers may not believe that there is an inherent rhythm to prose, it is there nonetheless."

The Economics of Genetic Engineering

"I propose to examine and predict the global socioeconomic impact of genetic engineering for widespread commercial use. . . . I plan to focus on the interplay between three main groups: the highly skilled, high-income workforce of developed countries, transnational corporations, and the relatively unskilled, low-income workforce of developing countries."

How We Know

"The scientific method today is said to be a self-correcting procedure, designed to be free from cultural and philosophical biases. Even today however, many critics argue that science is still based on the 19th century scientific worldview of classical physics, which assumes that matter is the only reality."

The Epidemiology of Cancer

"Proper health, preventative care, and screening are critical to the detection of early-stage disease; however, an analysis of cancer incidence rates among specific populations and the variables influencing them could also bring forth both a means of cancer prevention and a tool for enhancing survivorship."

Addiction Studies

"Drug usage and drinking often commence voluntarily; the descent into addiction does not. These substances affect and increase the neurotransmitter dopamine, which controls the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. As people continue to use substances, they build a tolerance. Soon, just to feel 'normal,' they must take ever-increasing dosages."

Recidivism and the American Penal System

" . . . the three fundamental purposes of a correctional system are: incapacitation, specific deterrence, and rehabilitation. These first two steps are critical for ensuring the immediate safety of our communities and for establishing the boundaries of lawful conduct. However, the rehabilitation of offenders is an equally crucial initiative – one that our current penal system has largely failed to undertake, let alone accomplish."

Meat, Health, and Sustainability

". . . raising livestock is the main contributor of greenhouse gases and the main driving force of deforestation. Despite this, the United States produced ninety-three billion pounds of meat in 2012, as documented by the North American Meat Institute, and in the same year, the average American consumed 71.2 pounds of red meat according to the Wall Street Journal. So the question is: how much meat is too much?"

Teaching Emotional Intelligence

" . . . I will search for what mechanisms can explain the proven correlation between students’ EI and academic achievement and evaluate potential ways educators can capitalize on this effect."

Once Upon a Story

"In Aristotle’s Poetics, the highest form of truth is derived through the process of analyzing epic and tragedy, imitations of reality. To what extent does storytelling dilute the truth and distort our understanding of reality? How much power does literary narrative have in molding our worldview?