Like so many of their predecessors, members of the PPA Class of 2008 earned honors and recognition. Christina Lee (Sociology) graduated cum Laude. Christina was also initiated into Phi Beta Kappa and was a senior member of Sigma Ki. David Sherer (Psychology) graduate com Laude and won the Russell M. Story Prize for PPA. Jameson Lam (Biology) won the Asian American Studies Prize and the Senior Service Award. Christina Lee also won the Robert D. Herman Prize in Sociology.
Below is a brief profile of each senior and his or her internship and thesis.
Kelly Hewitt, Politics (Scripps), interned with the Claremont Unified School District. Kelly aided the Director of Secondary Education in the development of two new district projects - a foreign language program for the elementary schools and a vocational program at the high school level. Kelly conducted research and created materials to help guide the Planning Committees. This internship led directly to her thesis, Narrowing the Achievement Gap? The Transition from Vocational to Career-Technical Education in California Public Schools. Kelly has accepted a position as Director of the Scripps College Academy, which focuses its recruitment on first-generation, college-bound students from low-income families.
Jameson Lam, Biology, worked for the American Red Cross in their Pomona office doing quantitative analysis. Jameson analyzed data from blood drives, looking for trends and frequencies. One project involved looking at efficiency, another looked for high school penetration. Jameson's thesis, The National Hepatitis B Act: Addressing the Health Disparity of Hepatitis B in Asian Americans, examined the biology of this disease and reviewed strategies that advocates can use in an attempt to improve the chances of approval for the National Hepatitis B Act. Jameson is now in Washington, D.C. interning with the APIA Health Forum for the summer. He plans to attend graduate school in public health after working for a couple of years.
Christina Lee, Sociology, worked for the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness in downtown L.A. Christina's work focused on educating others about homelessness; she designed a presentation and fact sheets to go on their website. Her interest in issues of poverty also inspired her thesis entitled Unpacking Individualistic Perspectives on Poverty: Asian American Perceptions of Poverty in Rowland Heights.
Jodie Pham, Biology, interned with COPE Health Solutions, a nonprofit health organization that aims to create a cohesive, integrated system of care for the uninsured/underinsured. Jodie's focus was on developing the Mobile Echo Project. The Project's goal was to bring mobile echocardiograms to local community clinics in a timely, convenient, and cost effective manner. Her thesis, Deceptive Probabilities: Genetic Testing for Breast Cancer Genes BRCA1/2 and Broader Policy Implications, examined the biology of hereditary breast cancer, the marketing of commercial genetic testing, the interpretation of test results, and the resulting policy implications. Jodie has accepted a project manager position with COPE Health Solutions, where she completed her internship.
Christopher Ramos, Sociology, interned at the Housing Rights Center of Los Angeles. This organization's purpose is to give general landlord/tenant counseling and to pursue discrimination claims. Christopher worked under the lead attorney to conduct research, including networking with other organizations, obtaining reports and testimonies, and writing editorials. His thesis was entitled The Latino/a Home Owning Class: Navigating wealth, securing property and utilizing social capital. Upon graduation, Christopher will work as a Research Assistant for the Williams Institute of the UCLA Law School.
Karla Ruiz, Sociology, interned with the Neighborhood Partnership Housing Services of Montclair - an organization that provides education on homeownership for low-income buyers. Her projects included creating a survey, helping with customer intake, marketing, and office duties. Karla's thesis was entitled Acquiring Americanidad: Examining Young Latino Adults in US Consumer Culture and their Presence in Policy. Karla's research aimed to explore the arguments about consumption in populations of color by asking about the internal negotiation between a dominant value system and the means of reaching its prescribed end.
David Sherer, Psychology, worked for Public Works, an educational consulting group contracted out by schools, districts, and boards to monitor and evaluate various school reform and intervention policies and programs. David consolidated and summarized survey responses, compiled test performance data, and interviewed teachers and administrators. David's thesis was also education-related: Do Small Learning Communities Help Teachers? An Investigation of Teacher Self-Efficacy and Professional Community at a Los Angeles High School. After graduation, David will be working as a K-8 special education teacher with Teach for America in San Francisco, CA.
Koko Umoren, Politics, worked with the ACLU of Southern California. Koko interned in the legal intake department, screening calls and conducting research. Koko's thesis dealt with issues of elections and government accountability - The European Union Final Report: The Aftermath of the 2007 Nigerian Elections.
Kari Wohlschlegel, Economics, interned with Crossroads, an organization that provides housing, education, support, and counseling in a home-like environment for women who have been incarcerated. Kari coordinated the Crossroads Advocacy Project, which seeks to raise awareness regarding the Governor's overturning of parole suitability for women who are in prison for life. Kari's internship led directly to her thesis, Discretionary Sentencing and Recidivism Rates: An Examination of the Relationship Between Release Decisions and Recidivism Rates. Kari received a fellowship with the Public Interest Research Group as an Issue Associate. After the fellowship ends, she plans to attend law school.
Jessica Ladd, Special Major (Public Policy/Human Sexuality), developed a thesis unrelated to her internship with the Foothill AIDS Project. Jessica's thesis was entitled "Condoms and Corrections: Condom Distribution Policy in California Prisons and Jails." Her thesis was based on extensive research, site visits, and interviews with correctional officers and officials, legislative branch aides, and public health workers and advocates. Jessica is now working in Washington, DC as a Public Policy Associate for The AIDS Institute."