McNair Scholars: 2008-2009
Adán E. Alonso
Adán E. Alonso is a junior pursuing his interest in Ethnomusicology. He aspires to revitalize music within communities of color as a segue way to understanding one’s heritage. His musical aspirations were apparent in middle school when he played trumpet as part of student jazz group for Al Jarreau and Lou Rawls. Adán now enjoys an eclectic range of musical genres including Son Jarocho, Mambo, Tumbao, Cumbia, Latin Jazz, Danzon, and Bolero’s. With the guidance of Professor Marcos Loya of the Chicana/o Studies Department, Adán has reconnected with his musical heritage and has had the opportunity to play genres that pique his interest. Adán currently plays bass guitar in the student group El ConjunToro, directed by Marcos Loya. In 2008, Adan attended the UCLA’s Graduate Division Summer Research Undergraduate Program (GDSPUR). He has presented his research at multiple conferences, most recently at the 2009 Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies (PCCLAS). Adán’s academic side is just as balanced as his musical one. He maintains a high grade point average and is on the Dean’s List. In addition, he is also an active officer in M.E.Ch.A. and a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Adán’s other interests include working with digital media and film.
Dawnette Anderson is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature, with a minor in Psychology at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Dawnette’s research interests include studying various methods of teaching tailored to early school age children with special needs in the area of English. She is also interested in the process of how various techniques are applied in the attainment of reading and writing skills. Dawnette’s goal is to earn a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Administration and pursue a career working inside of California’s educational system. Working alongside Dr. Leena Furtado in the Graduate Department of Education at CSUDH, Dawnette has recently presented her research at the California Education Research Association (CERA) Conference in San Diego, California.
Scarlett Aufmann transferred to California State University Dominquez Hills in 2007 from Los Angeles Harbor College with an A.A. degree in Liberal Arts. Scarlett is a senior pursuing a psychology degree. Her research interests are in child psychology. Scarlett is interested in how children are affected when living in dysfunctional environments where domestic violence or addictions are prevalent and how these environments affect the adults they become. Scarlett’s goal is earn a Ph.D. in Social Welfare and pursue a career as an instructor at the university level. Scarlett is also interested in conducting research in child psychology and working with families at the Betty Ford Center in Palm Desert, California. In addition, Scarlett is member of the Psi Chi Honors Society and was on the Dean’s List at Los Angeles Harbor College for three semesters. In summer 2009, Scarlett attended UCLA’s Graduate Division Summer Research Undergraduate Program (GDSPUR) and conducted research on the impact of middle school transition programs for sixth grade students. She presented this research at the 2009 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) Convention in Phoenix, Arizona. Aside from Scarlett’s studies, she is a single mother of four sons and works at Houston’s Restaurant in Manhattan Beach.
Mayra L. Avila
Mayra L. Avila transferred to California State University Dominguez Hills in 2007 from Los Angeles Harbor College with an A.A in Liberal arts. Mayra is pursuing a Double Major in History and Communication. Mayra is interested in researching the personal experiences of Braceros in the 1940s, through oral history. Her goal is to earn a Ph.D. in History and pursue a career as an instructor at the university level. Mayra attended the 2009 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program at the University of California, Irvine. She created a documentary on the bracero experience, which she has presented at various conferences including 2009 Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research (SCCUR). Mayra is an active member of her community through Wilmington Recreation Center Teen Club. Aside from her studies, Mayra is also a volunteer Softball coach and mentor.
Jesus Barboza is currently a junior at California State University, Dominguez Hills pursuing a B.A. in Anthropology with a focus in Archaeology. Jesus has worked closely with Dr. Janine Gasco on a research proposal encompassing the region of Mesoamerica, specifically investigating the extent of Teotihuacan influence across Mesoamerica. His ultimate goal is to become an archeologist. Jesus recently presented his research at the 2009 California McNair Scholars Symposium at UC Berkeley.
Eric Bonilla is a senior at California State University, Dominguez Hills pursuing a major in Psychology, with a minor in Sociology. Eric’s research interests are the mental health of minority youth and their relation to deviant behaviors, such as violence, drug use and risky sexual activity. Eric’s goal is to earn a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and open his own private practice. Currently, Eric works full time for a community based program that provides mental health services to youth in the Los Angeles area. Eric recently presented his research at the 2009 Society for Advancing Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) conference, where he was awarded “Outstanding Poster Presentation in the Social and Behavioral Sciences.” Aside from his studies and working full time, Eric practices martial arts and enjoys spending time with family and friends.
Tashiana Bryant is in her fourth year of undergraduate study as a Sociology major with a minor in Africana Studies at California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is interested in further her education in Social Work, Social Welfare, Africana Studies, and Minority Relations. She is interested in researching factors that affect the African-American community, include incarceration rates, gangs, drug and substance abuse, and health disparities. More specifically, Tashiana is interested in how these factors affect African American family structure and violence in the African American community. Tashiana recently presented her research at the 2009 Society for Advancing Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (2009) conference in Dallas, Texas. Tashiana’s ultimate goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Social Welfare or Social Work. In the near future, Tashiana plans to teach at a college level on Social Welfare and Social Work. She also wants to eventually start a Social Agency that focuses on families, children, and older adults.
Jose Luis Collazo, Jr.
Jose Luis Collazo, Jr. is a senior double-majoring in Sociology and Behavioral Science. Jose will become the first of his family to ever graduate from college, yet alone pursue a Ph.D. Jose seeks to find solutions to problems related to social and economical changes, such as the effects of globalization on society. He is particularly interested in environmental and health issues, social service disparities, and the fragmentation of communities, cultures, and social organizations due to social and economical changes. Another topic he is fascinated about is immigration and migration, specifically investigating why people migrate and how they survive in their new environment. Jose aspires to become a university researcher and professor. One of his goals for the future is to evaluate policies and laws in the United States and Mexico that might be hindering the wellbeing of society, such as accessibility to social services, education, health, and economic development, in order to implement social policies that will benefit the wellbeing of the nation and its citizens. Jose has attended two summer research programs, one at the Ohio State University and the other at Cornell University. Jose has also presented his research at multiple conferences, including the 2009 American Sociological Association (ASA) Conference in San Francisco, California. Jose’s ability to excel in academia has granted him membership in two honor societies: Alpha Kappa Delta and Phi Kappa Phi. In addition, Jose attained honors in Sociology and Behavioral Science, received the Outstanding Student in Sociology Recipient Award, made the Dean’s List multiple times, and is the president of the Sociology Club at California State University, Dominguez Hills. In his spare time, Jose enjoys developing new research projects, volunteering, and being politically active.
Mattia Day is a senior pursuing a Psychology/Spanish double major from California State University Dominguez Hills. Mattia’s research interests are exploring educational disparities and how they can be alleviated. Her ultimate goal is to earn a Ph.D. in Urban Education and pursue a career as an instructor at the university level. Mattia is currently conducting research with Dr. Carrier on how cultural background plays a role in the comprehension of medical materials. Mattia recently presented her research at the 2009 Society for Advancing Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) conference in Dallas, Texas. In addition, Mattia is also an active officer in Circle K International. Aside from her studies, Mattia enjoys acrobats and The Simpsons.
Pauline Dixon, a native of San Diego, CA, is a senior double-majoring in Communications and Theater Arts. Her research interests include the depiction of African-American women in the media. In 2008, Pauline attended the University of Iowa’s Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP). She has presented her research at multiple conferences including the 2008 California McNair Scholar Symposium and the 2009 Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research (SCCUR). Pauline maintains a high grade point average and has consistently been on the Dean’s List. She has been a staff writer in the school newspaper, The Bulletin, and was the stage manager for the theater art’s 2007 production of A Raisin in the Sun. She is also a member of Circle K, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, the Honors Program, and the Sisterhood of Isis Mentoring Group. Pauline hopes to one day study abroad.
Erica Gonzalez Cisneros
Erica Gonzalez Cisneros is a junior majoring in Chicana/o Studies and Studio Art. She expresses an avid interest in exploring the influences of Mesoamerican Iconography that have shaped art today. As a child, she used art to convey emotions. Today she spends much of her free time painting and hopes to integrate this passion into her doctoral work. She actively volunteers in the Chicana/o Studies department and is visible at many of their functions. Erica is also a Sally Cassanova scholar. In 2009, Erica participated in the 2009 Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She most recently presented her research at the 2009 Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies (PCCLAS).
Helen C. Gutierrez is a senior and a Psychology major. Helen is interested in conducting research on the life satisfaction of elderly retired women. Helen’s goal is to obtain her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology and become a professor. She has conducting research with Dr. Rosen on how the media portrays the Internet and MySpace in a negative way. Helen has presented her research at the 2009 Student Research Day at California State University, Dominguez Hills as well as the 2009 Western Psychological Association Convention. Recently, Helen presented her research at the 2009 Society for Advancing Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) conference in Dallas, Texas. Helen is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Outside of school, Helen enjoys swing dancing.
Laurenne Lewis is currently a senior at California State University, Dominguez Hills pursing a major in Psychology. Her ultimate goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology with an emphasis in lifespan and health, and become a professor at a university. Under her mentors Dr. Silvia Santos and Dr. Maria Hurtado-Ortiz, Laurenne has conducted extensive research on diabetes in the Latino community. Laurenne recently presented her research at the 2009 Society for Advancing Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) conference in Dallas, Texas.
Alex Lim is currently a senior at California State University, Dominguez Hills pursing a major in Psychology. In graduate school, Alex is interested in the psychology of media and technology. Alex is currently conducting research in the George Marsh Applied Cognition Laboratory examining memory for classroom lecture material with text message interruptions. Alex recently presented his research at the 2009 Society for Advancing Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) conference and the Annual Biomedical Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) national conferences, where he was awarded “Outstanding Poster Presentation in the Social and Behavioral Sciences” at both conferences. Alex is interested in obtaining a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology and pursuing a career as a professor. Aside from his research and studies, during his leisure time Alex enjoys reading, playing the guitar, multiplayer video games and most of all he deeply enjoys making kimchee.
Juan Orellana is a senior majoring in Spanish Literature. Juan is interested in researching indigenous cultural elements such as melancholy and music in Latin American literature. Under the mentorship of Dr. Benito Gomez, Juan presented his research at the V Congreso Internacional Conference de la AHH in Sevilla, Spain. Juan’s ultimate goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in Spanish Literature and to be a professor in the California State University system. In high school, Juan was awarded “Abanderado” which is given to the student who has the highest GPA. Recently, he has obtained a music scholarship at Broward Community College. In the spring of 2008, his high academic performance placed him on California State University, Dominguez Hills’ Dean’s List. Aside from academics, Juan is a California Realtor and a Notary Public. He is a professional musician and enjoys playing and listening to Latin American and classical guitar music.
Mary Francois Roach
Mary Francois Roach is a senior pursuing a major in Interdisciplinary Studies with a minor in Sociology at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Mary is interested in researching how social economics and ethnicity affect parental discipline of adolescent teens. Mary’s goal is to earn a Ph.D. in the field of Sociology or Social Welfare and pursue a career as an instructor at the university level. In the summer of 2009, Mary conducted research at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She has a son and husband who support her in educational goals. Her interests are reading, traveling, socializing with friends, and listening to live music.
Natalie Schuster is a senior pursing a B.A. in Anthropology at California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is interested in researching a broad range of disciplines within the field of anthropology: population genetics, historical archaeology, policy research, Diaspora studies, applied anthropology, women’s studies, cultural ecology, and ethnography. Natalie’s ultimate goal is to purse a Ph.D. in Anthropology and teach at the university level. In the summer of 2009, Natalie attended the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) at the Ohio State University where she travelled to Hawai’i to research marine foraging and the transports or marine food in the Kohala, Harai’i field system.
Mellonise Shorter is a senior majoring in Mathematics at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Her long term goal is to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematical Physics. Mellonise in interested in researching how far sound travels in natural environments, preferably in the different forms of water. In addition, she would like to teach college Mathematics and direct Physics labs. Her biggest goal is to start a Math Camp in several low income communities in different states. The goal of the Math Camp would be to teach and encourage younger generations to pursue higher education, especially in mathematics and the sciences. Mellonise was born and raised in Los Angeles, California by her grandparents. Her hobbies include dancing, writing poetry, and going to the beach. She has written over 200 poems and plans to publish them in the future.