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Disney at War: Animated Propaganda During World War II

Bustamante, Silvia ('09);  Rapaport, Lynn

In the 1940s, thousands of American men and women serviced their country during World War II. Among those drafted into the war were some of America’s most recognized and beloved stars: Popeye, Bugs Bunny, and most notably Donald Duck. Walt Disney created over a dozen wartime-related animated shorts and two feature-length films (such as Der Fuehrer’s Face, which won an Academy Award), starring Donald Duck. While initially popular at the time of their release (even garnering Academy Awards), the films were eventually taken out of circulation and disappeared. Walt Disney’s cooperation in this government-funded operation was fueled not only by patriotism, but also as a means to keep his troubled company together in a time of hardship. The films were created to help the war effort by encouraging certain behaviors (like paying “taxes to beat the Axis”) and by depicting the enemy in negative stereotypes.
Funding provided by: Pomona College SURP

"It Takes a Village to Raise a Child...": The Role of Counselors and Parents in Latino/a Academia

Covarrubias, Francisco ('10);  Rojas, Jenniffer ('10); Kessler, Markus ('10);  Thai, Mai ('10); Ochoa, Gilda L.

When looking at the causes of the education gap that plague Latina/o students, it is important to consider the voices of the authority figures who are responsible for these youth. As part of a larger qualitative study at a predominately Latina/o and Asian American suburban high school, this study adopts a macro-meso-micro framework and uses in-depth interviews with Latina/o parents and counselors to explore the construction and framing of each of their roles. The study finds that there is a disconnect between what parents expect from the counselors and what the counselors are delivering. However, looking deeper into the problem, the study finds that these unsatisfying services that the counselors provide are caused by restrictions that she/he cannot overcome. Our study focuses on (de)constructing these relationships and creating possibilities for solidarity so that parents and counselors can work together in assisting Latina/o students.
Funding provided by: Pomona College SURP (FC, MK, MT)

Globalizing Saigon

Fiorello, Chris ('11);  Carrillo, Daniella ('10); Thai, Hung

The project focuses on the relationships between expatriates and locals in Saigon, an emergent city with about 30,000 expatriates. It included a group of forty-five individuals, both men and women in early adulthood, from across the class spectrum. It centered on their everyday lives, and the ways in which they traversed transnational boundaries to form various identities and practices in Saigon, either including or excluding locals from their relational networks in the process. Access was gained through snowball sampling, and fieldnotes were kept on each substantive interaction with respondents over nine weeks. Ultimately ten respondents were chosen for in-depth interviews lasting between one and a half and three hours, during which respondents reflected on their perceptions of locals and Saigon, and their life in the city.
Funding provided by: Pomona College SURP

College Access Organizations: Helping Each Other, Helping Students

Gardner, Iris ('09);  Ochoa, Gilda

This is both a qualitative and quantitative study conducted over three months of two college access organizations in southern California. Approximately 300 student applications were used to record quantitative data and 12 staff and previous students were interviewed. Both organizations aim to provide underprivileged youth and their families with knowledge about college. These types of organizations are new and therefore their methodology and effectiveness have not been studied. The main goal of this research was to determine how each program could benefit from a change in their staffing, policies and procedures. These and other questions regarding demographics of both students and parents were answered. The results can be used by the organization in order to improve their programs for the students, parents and themselves. It will also help each of them apply for monetary grants and share best practices. Both organizations have good records regarding college matriculation and student satisfaction.
Funding provided by: The Aubrey H. and Eileen J. Seed Award

An Examination of Media Representations of Barack Obama and its Implications for Racial Discourse

Hamada, Sandra ('09);  Ochoa, Gilda

The mass media as a hegemonic device in U.S. society masks the oppression Black communities face through "controlling images," which often "otherize" them, and highlight their differences with whites. Within intersectional paradigms, gendered representations depict Black men as uneducated, deviants and criminals. Barack Obama, a self-identified Black man, born from a white American mother and a Black Kenyan father, has been in the media spotlight ever since his announcement for the 2008 presidential candidacy. This study is a content-analysis of the media's portrayal of Barack Obama's image during the Democratic primaries to understand how his image plays into the larger pattern of representation of Blacks and race in the United States. By exploring messages from mainstream U.S. newspapers, alternative online sources and international news sources, the role of Obama's figure in society can be examined to understand its possible implications for (de)constructing society's image of Black communities.
Funding provided by: The Craddock-McVicar Award

Evaluating Success: Amen and Emergency Assistance

Hanft, Sam ('10);  Hicks, Tessa*
*Pitzer College, Claremont CA

In today’s world, nonprofit human services organizations that wish to thrive must professionalize their data collection as foundations demand hard evidence of outcomes. The purpose of this project was to investigate the efforts of one such organization, Arlingtonians Meeting Emergency Needs (AMEN), by collecting anecdotal evidence of AMEN’s effectiveness through interviews with case workers and clients who have participated in AMEN’s programs. The findings suggest that AMEN’s volunteer system offers greater efficiency and flexibility than most other organizations providing emergency assistance. The fact that AMEN trusts other organizations’ case workers’ assessments of clients allows AMEN to provide immediate relief to clients with pressing needs. While long-term solutions are necessary to ultimately end homelessness, this research suggests emergency assistance will continue to play a vital role. In addition to contributing to our knowledge of homelessness prevention, the results of this research will be used to secure future grant funding for AMEN.
Funding provided by: Pomona College SURP

"The Elite" and "The Middle": The Resource Differential Between Academic Programs

Kessler, Markus ('10);  Thai, Mai ('10);  Covarrubias, Francisco ('10);  Ochoa, Gilda;  Enriquez, Laura ('08)

Academic programs are often thought of as a way to increase student support. However, the goals and students in these programs can vary greatly. As part of a research team, I conducted field observations and semi-structured interviews to understand how students, teachers, and staff frame students' educational experiences. Focusing on two programs at Southern California High School, I explore how the racialization of each program affects the resources students receive. While the International Baccalaureate (IB) program is a curriculum-track for high achieving students, at SCHS, the predominantly Asian American student body lay claim to a variety of the school’s resources. On the other hand, Advanced Via Individual Determination (AVID) is a program whose focus is support for students in the academic middle. While such programs can be beneficial in the resources and opportunities that they provide select students, their differential student populations cause them to be unequally positioned within the school's resource hierarchy.
Funding provided by: Pomona College SURP

Growing Ethnic Diversity and Cross-Ethnic Interactions

Lu, Natalie ('10);  Grigsby, Jill

Though Southern California is one of the most ethnically and racially diverse regions in the country, there exists a wide range of diversity among its constituent cities and communities. Some communities have high levels of racial homogeneity and segregation, while others consist of multiple and diverse ethnic groups. The city of Moreno Valley, located in Riverside County, represents a racially heterogeneous community and is distinctive in that it contains substantial populations of three of the four major racial groups. This study examines the significant population growth and increasing ethnic diversity that Moreno Valley has experienced in the past few decades. Using GIS software and data from the 1990 and 2000 U.S. Census, I conducted a spatial analysis of the community’s racial composition and ethnic diversity. An ethnography of students at Moreno Valley’s community college and their interactions is also included in this research.
Funding provided by: Pomona College SURP

Her Stories: The Experiences of Filipina Activism in a Local and Transnational Context

Nguyen, Patricia ('10);  Ochoa, Gilda

Globalization and the role of capitalistic exploitation continue to affect immigration. For economic and political reasons many Filipinos leave the Philippines in search of better employment and educational opportunities to support their families. Many Filipinas have organized women’s groups across the country to help build community and work on political campaigns domestically and internationally. However social science research on women’s activism continues to be under-researched and when activism is researched it typically focuses on public, official, visible political activity even though unofficial, private, and seemingly invisible spheres of social life and organization may be equally important (Collins, 202). This research project focuses on FiRE (Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment) a grassroots community-based organization from New York City and the narratives of the women who are formally and informally involved. The research involves my participation in FiRE’s events, group meetings, and conducting interviews and focused discussions.
Funding provided by: The Aubrey H. and Eileen J. Seed Award

Seeing is Believing: The Myths and Realities of the Model Minority Stereotype

Thai, Mai ('10);  Covarrubias, Francisco ('10);  Kessler, Markus ('10); Ochoa, Gilda L.

Scholarship and media often align academic success with race, frequently pointing to Asian Americans as the high achievers in education. Throughout California public high schools, the high proportion of Asian Americans in honors courses fabricates the model minority myth - the stereotype that Asian Americans are culturally hardworking and high-achieving students - without considering additional invisible complexities such as socioeconomic class and social networking that do have an effect on achievement. As part of a larger research team that conducted field observations, focus groups, and personal interviews at Southern California High School, my research centers on field observations from various award ceremonies and interviews with Asian American students across all levels of academic programs. I explore how many Asian American students demystify the model minority myth by providing exceptions and critiques to the stereotype, but they feel compelled to reinforce it by aligning with dominant discourse in attempting to explain the high proportion of Asian American students in honors courses and who are recognized in various award ceremonies.
Funding provided by: Pomona College SURP

Research at Pomona