Cohort 15 (2022-23)

Damian Garcia ’25, History and French

Louisiana is among the most unique states within the United States of America. It was controlled by France, Spain, and the United States. These three countries each have their own unique cultures and legal systems. Throughout Louisiana’s history, every nation that controlled it exerted its influence, including the state’s laws and legal system. Louisiana’s unique history poses some questions about jurisprudence. Which nation of the three exerted the most influence over Louisiana’s laws? Did the separate influences from France, Spain, and the United States conflict with each other? What trajectory has the evolution of Louisiana’s legal system taken and in what direction is it evolving now? This study seeks to establish how the Louisiana legal system came to take its current shape while utilizing various primary documents and secondary analyses. Each country will be considered separately before being synthesized into one overall analysis.

Alejandra Ortega ’24, English Literature and Language

There are people who speak English and there are people who speak Spanish. But what about the people who speak both at the same time? For many, code-switching, the linguistic practice of switching between two languages in the same phrase, makes communicating easier. Often, bilingual and bicultural people assign specific emotions to words in one of their spoken languages. Spoken code-switching is viewed as natural, but what about written code-switching? This study seeks to find how authors intentionally use code-switching to help their audiences understand situations unique to Latine bicultural communities. I read works of literature such as Sandra Cisneros’ Caramelo and collections of poetry such as Hermosa by Yesika Salgado to find cases of code-switching. The code-switching was then analyzed within the context of the written corpus and found that codeswitching is used to communicate experiences and to further immerse readers in the world of the author.

Shayla Sakkakhanaune ’25, Sociology

Reincarnation is unfamiliar to many but is understood by many Lao and Thai Theravada Buddhists. Buddhists believe that energy transfers from one body to the next when that same energy reemerges after death; Lao and Thai elders believe that the loss of a body part in one life will cause an incomplete rebirth in that person’s next life. For Lao and Thai Americans able to participate in organ donation, how can these cultural beliefs influence their likelihood to donate? Few studies on organ donation have focused on Lao and Thai Americans specifically. Nevertheless, those few studies have revealed how monks, highly respected figures in Lao and Thai communities, actually support organ donation; family discussions about organ donation are not always possible; and Thai Americans have a greater educational attainment than Lao Americans, which may lead them to be more favorable towards organ donation than Lao Americans. To contribute to the literature, I will interview Lao and Thai Americans to investigate how their religiosity, generational status, and educational attainment influence their beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors regarding organ donation. Understanding how these factors influence likelihood to donate can help medical providers speak to their Lao and Thai patients with greater cultural humility.