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Negotiating Identity Labels Among Transitioning Mexican American College Students

Virginia Cardenas ('10); Gilda Ochoa

My research explores the perception of ethnic labels among students from the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas, a region that ranks among the poorest in the nation and has a 90% Latino population. Eight in-depth interviews were conducted with students who left their communities to attend predominately White, high-ranking universities. Discussions centered around their understanding and perception of, specifically: Chicano, Hispanic, Latino and Mexican American, and the students’ own personal experiences in transitioning to privileged environments. My findings focus on the difficulties of educating one's self of the meanings of each of these labels, eventually leading to frustration and disinterest in Latino/a histories. I suggest a lack of unity and pride among high-achieving members of the Latino/a community, and found that these students believed their status as a Latino/a was of little importance to their lives and education, indicating a disconnect from their home communities and Latino/a culture.
Funding provided by: The Aubrey H. and Eileen J. Seed Award

“Algún Chavo Quiere…”: Online Social Networking Sites as the New Queer Center

Francisco Covarrubias ('10); Jill Grigsby

Through quantitative research methods, I administer a survey on gay social networking sites to explore reasons for why Gay Latinos use these sites and what social capital they gain. Most importantly, I am looking to find what non-sexual activities this group is searching for on these websites and whether any network building is occurring. I use mapping software to contrast the physical spaces that are available to this community to support my claim that the online community is the most accessible space that Gay Latinos can use to establish connections with other Queer people. With this empirical research and through a literature review, I suggest that research on this community should extend further than the current HIV prevention lens, as even small samples of responses can provide statistically significant information about the social happenings of this community.
Funding provided by: Craddock-McVicar Award

Discovering Disney: Der Fürer's Face

Blake Crawford ('10); Lynn Rapaport

The focus of the work is the study of Der Fuehrer's Face. The research I have engaged in is an extension of work previously conducted by Lynn Rapaport. The film garnered public attention as well as the accolades of the academy as it went on to win Best Animated Short Film in 1943. My research analyzes the devices used by the Disney Studios such as satire and iconology in order to project a salience of war propaganda and anti-Nazi sentiment throughout the United States. The methods used for this project involved, watching several films from the Disney Corporation which were produced prior to and during World War II; also I researched online communities as well as creating an online survey to gather feedback from people who had not yet seen the video. This was accompanied by extensive research analyzing hard copy literature from various authors.
Funding provided by: The Aubrey H. and Eileen J. Seed Award

Implementation of an Intersectionality Framework in Youth Based Community Programs and Policy

Karen Ferreira ('11); Gilda Ochoa

The reproductive needs of Women of Color, as well as low-income women, have historically been ignored by governmental policies. The lack of an intersectionality framework which encompasses how race, class, gender, sexuality, language, and immigration status all function simultaneously to erect specific barriers for women seeking reproductive services limits the effectiveness of governmental policy that deals with reproductive rights. In Chicago, IL, the Latina community of Pilsen and Little Village, have been able to seek reproductive health services through Mujeres Latinas en Accion (MLEA), an organization whose purpose is to “empower Latinas through providing services.” With rising pregnancy rates among Latina youth as well as the lack of comprehensive sex education in public schools, Proyecto Juventud, MLEA’s youth program, has not only provided Latina teens with reproductive health education, but also a space where working collectively and leadership skills are emphasized which then enables them to be better prepared academically.
Funding provided by: Pomona College SURP

Research at Pomona