Cohort 14 (2021-22)

David Gomez ’23, Spanish and French

The US Department of Education declares that “in our globally connected and competitive world, all students need an educational experience that prepares them to become effective global citizens, equipped for success in college, career, and civic participation”. The relationship between a global education and civic participation must therefore be explored because, as Robert D. Putnam states, there has been a decline in civic/social participation over time, which has led to a lack of understanding between groups, an increase in political tension, and a decrease of tolerance. Putnam partly blames the education system because of its failure to prepare students for civic duties and the responsibilities of adulthood. Scholars such as John Dewey, and Amy Doolittle believe in the importance of teaching students about the community and “the spirit of service” in a classroom setting. Because bilingual programs promote learning about other cultures and experiencing community through the lenses of other groups, it Could help children learn more about civic engagement, and by extension, tolerance. This study will aim to answer the question of whether students who attended a dual language immersion bilingual education program in elementary school are more likely to be civically engaged as seniors in high school.

Adanech Muno ’23, Whittier Scholars Program- Sociology of the Black Experience

A Pew research study found that one in five Black people in America are immigrants or are children of immigrants. We see the rise of immigration, but the vast majority of studies still treat Black people as a monolith. Much research on the “Black experience” never specifies the ethnic background of those they are interviewing and when speaking about race it conflates the experiences without giving context to why those experiences are different. Much research uses Black people or African Americans to hide behind the clear distinction of those they interview. For my project I am studying, The different academic and mental effects of discrimination/racism for Black immigrants and children of immigrants in contrast to Black Americans specifically in private liberal arts colleges & universities where Black people are a minority. When doing my research, I will highlight how these experiences with race can significantly differ because there is a historical difference, a cultural difference and at times an environmental difference. With this research scholars will be able to hone in and understand how these experiences differ. With that information we can start the conversation and later systematic change, on how to give different groups of Black people the different support that is needed to be successful in higher education.

Ellis Clyde Walker ’23, Whittier Scholars Program- Religion, Literature, & Social Justice

African American religion, born from the traumas of institutionalized slavery, has played a significant role in the religious-cultural development of enslaved Africans and their descendants. Forced to adapt to the tumultuousness of systematic mistreatment and dehumanization at the hands of oppressive European forces, African peoples managed to create faith-based safe spaces in which they could socialize freely amongst themselves, ultimately protecting their indigenous spiritual belief systems and negotiating them with a reinvention of Eurocentric Christianity into the Black Church. This hybridization of West African spirituality and the Christian faith cemented itself into the culture of Black Americans for generations. However, younger generations of African Americans - especially millennials - are no longer affiliating with traditional African American religious institutions in lieu of alternative spiritual practices. Drawing on resources from the fields of theology, sociology, and history, this project explores the increasing religious disaffiliation of Black millennials from the Black Church and thus aims to contribute to the interdisciplinary field of Black Church studies from an intergenerational perspective, with a focus on millennial religiosity and hybridity. Why has religiosity among African American millennials declined drastically? Does this decline mark an end of the Black Church? My hypothesis is that African American religiosity has declined due to millennial disillusionment with institutional organized religion. Nonetheless, the Black Church is simultaneously evolving into a new religious-spiritual space to meet the needs of younger African American generations.

Alexandra Amaya ’24, English Major

Vampires aren’t real, of course. Their stories are fictional and unscientific.  And yet is it possible that the fictional workings of Gothic Horror might correspond with physics, and might physics have something to tell us about the supernatural found in the Gothic? Although STEM and the Humanities have much in common—math within music, patterns in nature—they are often treated as worlds apart. This presentation will help to bridge the gap by focusing on how Gothic Horror and Physics mutually illuminate each other to challenge common assumptions about the laws of space-time. In conversation, these two worlds instantly raise several strange but intriguing questions. Can vampires symbolize general relativity? Can quantum entanglement explain ghosts? One path to entertaining these questions seriously is the key variable of time. The notion of fluid time within a Gothic Horror story infers that the encompassed supernatural events can be related to or explained by physical phenomena and space-time’s mind-boggling paradox offered by quantum mechanics. Discussing Bram Stoker’s iconic Dracula and modern works, such as Wendy Webb’s The Haunting of Brynn Wilder, this presentation will address how the representation of fluid time can help connect the seemingly separate worlds of Einstein and Gothic Horror.