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Click to watch Rachel Bollens '13 discuss her research project.

Biracial Young Adults on Becoming the Greater Sum

Gabrielle Kelenyi ('13); Mentor: Susana Chávez-Silverman

Abstract:  This research examines how the representations of young biracial protagonists in literary works intersect with the lived experiences of biracial Americans. Specifically, this project explores the themes of family, empowerment and disadvantage, and the effects of racial ambiguity through the analysis of memoirs and short stories, scholarly literature, and interviews with biracial young adults. The readings and interviews illuminated that while there are many parallels between the familial experiences described in the literature and the actual lived experiences of the interviewees, there are key differences in the experiences involving empowerment and disadvantage, especially in regards to education. In addition, this project takes on a transnational perspective in examining the opinions and experiences of mixed race, or Coloured, South Africans in relation to those of the American participants in this study. This preliminary study has elucidated a transcendence of the “tragic mulatto” caught between two worlds stereotype in America.
Funding Provided by: Pomona College SURP  

Modern Dance in Time and Space

Ryan Wingate; Mentor: John Pennington

Abstract: My project examined the space in which modern dance is performed, specifically how geography and physical space influence the creation, performance and reception of dance.  Throughout the summer I traveled around the country and attended performances in rural locations, outdoor theaters, urban landscapes and festival formats. My methods for research included performance observation, oral interviews and archival research in dance history, and a close reading of interdisciplinary connections between dance and other art media.  My observations did not produce objective conclusions but rather a qualitative survey of where modern dance is presently positioned in relation to other forms of visual, performing, and written arts in American culture. This summer of dance research has introduced me to a world I’ve never been exposed to before, ignited my passion in the arts, and inspired me to integrate dance into my interdisciplinary education at Pomona College.
Funding Provided by: Pomona College SURP

Disease Management in a Recently Industrialized Country: The Study of Retinopathy of Prematurity in Mexico City

Rachel Bollens ('13); Hayley Winninghoff ('13); Paul Chan*; María Ana Martínez-Castellanos†; Mentor: Richard Worthington
*Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University; †Asociación para Evitar la Ceguera

Abstract:  Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), a disease characterized by the underdevelopment of the retina in premature infants, can cause lifelong blindness if not treated aggressively. This study examines the prevalence, treatment options, and risk factors associated with this disease in Mexico City. Investigation of ROP serves as a case study towards the broader aim of understanding the public health system, and more specifically the complexities of disease management in a newly industrialized country. Through reviewing patient files, observing treatment and interacting with doctors and families, we explore the multitude of etiological and societal components that play a role in the construction of sustainable and effective treatment programs in varied communities. Our research shows that the medical resources available are being used effectively, though socio-economic status, limited education, and cultural norms still represent significant challenges to the delivery and management of ROP.
Funding Provided by: Aubrey H. and Eileen J. Seed Student Research Fund  



Research at Pomona