Abstract: Youth Enrichment Programs on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation

Youth Enrichment Programs on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation

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Megiddo Expedition

Megiddo, located in the north of Israel, is a notable historic and archaeological site because of its long, internationally connected history. This important site has been undergone a long series of excavations to uncover the structure of the settlement. This summer, I will volunteer and study at the Megiddo Expedition, part of the Jezreel Valley Regional Project, from June 23 to August 2, 2018.  In this process, I will engage in the six-credit field school, lasting six weeks. The field school introduces students to the full cycle of archaeology and provides students training in a range of archaeological technologies, including GIS, AutoCAD, and 3-D imaging.

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Tracking Spatial Inequality in Africa by Mapping Coal Plants

This project will look at global coal usage in a spatial context. For the research team working with Professor Maliniak and Professor Harish, one topic of interest is understanding why coal plants are located where they are. Some plausible explanations are proximity to coal sources, proximity to transport lines, or other political factors. Another topic this research project will explore is the effects coal plants have on communities. They are touted as having both positive (e.g. jobs and power generation) and negative (environmental and health) effects. Understanding the trade-off will help to determine the extent to which building and maintaining coal plants even makes sense. The project will use the global coal plants database together with spatial economic data from night lights and environmental data from air pollution models to better determine the trade off. Finally, this project will explore the political effects of coal plant construction by combining the global coal plants database with existing political data, such as the voting patterns of communities affected by these coal plants. Understanding the political ramifications of coal plant construction are important in building sustainable environmental policies. Specifically, this research project will explore these questions related to political economy, spatial inequality, and ethnic inequality in Africa. This will inform a narrative of ethnic inequality and spatial political power in Africa. The results of this study will contribute to the existing literature on spatial inequality, environmental justice, regulation and political accountability.

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Mechanism of Flower Patterning in Plants

Complex patterning traits such as speckling and spotting offer a great opportunity to explore fundamental principles of plant evolution and development. In our system, the hybridization between two inter-fertile sister species from the Chile Mimulus luteus complex, M. l. variegatus (lavender color) and M. cupreus (orange color) yield a novel, highly patchy distribution of red anthocyanin pigment on flower petal lobe in both F1 and F2 generations. Back crossing and phenotype segregation have suggested a strong genetic basis behind this complex patterning trait, and several transcriptional regulators of the luteus anthocyanin pathway (such as pla1 and pla2 from the R2R3 MYB superfamily) have already been identified. To further address the genetic mechanism and inter-genomic interactions responsible for anthocyanin patterning in the hybrids, we develop a digital image analysis system to investigate the complexity of petal lobe traits, such as the pigment intensity and spatial variation. The quantifiable phenotypical information will be combined with population-wide genome sequencing data (using RAD-Seq) to enable genetic mapping and analysis. These advances in understanding the regulatory networks allows us to conjecture a mathematical model based on a reaction-diffusion dynamics of the interaction between the activators (a Myb5 and a Myb2b) and the repressor (presumably a R3 MYB). Taken together, our findings will reveal the genetic architecture of hybrid anthocyanin patterning, in a system that is ideal for future evolutionary, molecular, and developmental studies of underlying mechanisms.

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Abstract

The question I am hoping to answer in my research is “Is there a higher mortality rate for Black incarcerated women compared with non-incarcerated Black women?” The maternal mortality rate for black women is extremely high and it is important to determine if it is higher in the subset of black women in prison. The rate of incarceration for women is rising, although women still make up a minority of incarcerated persons in the U.S. (less than 10%). Black women make up about 25% of incarcerated women and it is important to know if their rates of maternal mortality is higher than that of black women in the general population given that the rate of black women is already higher than that in many developing countries. Maternal mortality in the US has been found to increase slightly and finding out if women giving birth in prison is contributing to the increasing rate is part of my research. A major social justice issue in incarcerated women is shackling during delivery and it will be important to understand how this factor affects delivery outcomes for both the mother and child.