Student research
Front row: Emma Buck, Theresa Arriola, Mana Hayashi Tang, Gabriela Alvarez, Emily Taylor, Sophie Lynford. Back row: Colin O'Brien, Arthur Matusezewski, Sarah Gibson, Emily Sorg, President Simmons, Charles Royce ’61, Dean Bergeron, Naomi Oberman-Briendel, Annalisa Wilde, Akshay Rathod. Not pictured: Sophie Elsner, Hana Kawai, Stephanie Le Credit: John Abromowski / Brown University

Fifteen chosen as 2009 Royce Fellows

From sustainable food to lymphoma therapies to race relations on Kentucky farms, this year’s crop of undergraduate research projects will enrich our body of knowledge – and perhaps change lives.
By TAB staff  |  April 1, 2009  |  Email to a friend

On April 2, Brown honored 15 outstanding undergraduate scholars by awarding them research grants through the Royce Fellows Program. Each receives a fellowship of $4,000 to pursue an original research project under the sponsorship of a Brown faculty member. Established in 1996 by trustee emeritus Charles Royce ’61 and administered by Brown’s Swearer Center for Public Service, the program celebrates undergraduates’ exceptional academic performance, creativity, leadership, and community service.

Recipients of the Royce Fellowship are awarded lifetime membership in the Society of Royce Fellows. They may attend regularly scheduled events to present their vision and to consider those held by others, honing a sense of responsibility to the academic community and the world beyond Brown.

This year’s Royce Fellows, their proposed research projects, and their faculty sponsors are:

Gabriela Alvarez ’11
The Cornucopia Project
Alvarez will explore best practices working with the Cornucopia Project, a sustainable food initiative that works with local schools in Hancock, NH, and bring those lessons to a developing sustainable food initiative at Brown that will serve low-income residents in the Providence community.
Sponsor: Matthew Garcia

Theresa Arriola ’10
Building a Research Network on Military, Society, and Environment in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
Arriola will research the long-term effects of colonization and militarization on the islands of Guam and Saipan, compiling existing research on the negative effects of militarization to provide a resource for locals and outsiders to advocate against military abuse, create community awareness, and promote public policy change.
Sponsor: Catherine Lutz

Emma Buck ’11
Mapping Ecological and Scientific Knowledge of the Atlantic Cod in Southern New England to Improve Fisheries Management
In cooperation with scientists and fishermen, Buck will compile information to create a greater understanding of Atlantic cod populations. She will use ethnographic methodologies and geographical information system (ArcGIS) technology to organize her findings and help produce a more nuanced and accurate body of knowledge about the species. Her work will lay the groundwork for improved communication between commercial and scientific communities, creating a foundation from which improved fisheries-management decisions can be made.
Sponsor: Caroline Karp

Sophie Elsner ’10
Uniting a Community in the Worst of Times: Bringing German Jewish Immigrants to Buenos Aires
Elsner will research two organizations founded in the 1930s in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe with the mission of assisting German Jews seeking refuge. She will study the role these local, community-based groups played in shaping both Jewish history and Argentine international and immigration policy.
Sponsor: James Green

Sarah Gibson ’10.5
We Care for the Land: Changing Race Relations on Family Farms in Todd County, Kentucky
Through interviews, photography, and archival research, Gibson will document the complex and evolving relationships among white farm owners, black farm workers, and Latino migrant workers in southern Kentucky. The result will be a multimedia documentary that will combine personal narratives with historical research to explore the ways the community has experienced dramatic demographic, cultural, and agricultural changes.
Sponsor: Keith Brown

Hana Kawai ’10
What We Talk About When We Talk About Community: Conflict Resolution in a New York City Public School
Along with Emily Taylor (below), Kawai will explore an innovative, classroom-based conflict resolution strategy in a fourth-grade class in New York City, with particular attention to ways in which the social context of the classroom affects conflict and power as well as how the classroom community uses language to resolve conflicts. Kawai will use her observations to develop a teachers’ guide that both outlines the process and practice of these conflict-resolution meetings and provides insights into best practices for classroom problem-solving.
Sponsor: Peggy Chang

Stephanie Le ’10
The Molecular Mechanisms of Metabolic Response to Desiccation in Drosophila
Le will examine the molecular mechanisms underlying an observed increase in desiccation resistance in a genetically altered strain of Drosophila (fruit flies). The results will provide a clearer understanding of the interaction between mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, and will provide further insight into molecular pathways that underlie human metabolic disorders.
Sponsor: David Rand

Sophie Lynford ’10
Creative Reciprocity between Clement Greenberg and the Abstract Expressionist Painters Morris Louis and Jack Bush
Lynford will examine the unpublished correspondence between art critic Clement Greenberg and two Abstract Expressionist painters, Morris Louis and Jack Bush. These letters should enable her to reconstruct the personal and aesthetic building-blocks of their early relationships and develop a more complex understanding of this seminal critic’s influence on abstract artists and the artists’ reciprocal effect on Greenberg’s thought.
Sponsor: Herve Vanel

Arthur Matuszewski ’11
Development and Expansion of Educational Linkage: Brown University and the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institute
Matuszewski will build upon the Brown Education Link and Lecture Series in an effort to expand the burgeoning educational partnership between Brown and the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institute (ACI). Combining academic research with organizing and outreach, he will work to expand and institutionalize a program sharing Brown’s educational resources with the ACI.
Sponsor: Barrymore Bogues

Colin O’Brien ’10
The Role of TAF4b in Burkitt’s Lymphoma and Potential for Diagnostics and Treatment
O’Brien will investigate the role of the molecule TAF4b in Burkitt’s lymphoma, a potentially deadly malignancy that primarily affects children in Eastern Africa. Because of the critical part it plays in human cell growth and regulation, TAF4b has great potential as a novel therapeutic or diagnostic target in this disease.
Sponsor: Richard Freiman

Naomi Oberman-Breindel ’10
Roots and Routes of Radical Black Feminist Traditions in the United States: The Origins and Legacies of the Combahee River Collective
Oberman-Breindel will explore the origins of the Combahee River Collective, a radical black feminist organization active in Boston and Cambridge, MA, from 1974 to 1980. Through the use of primary source material, archives, and interviews with the founders/members of the collective, she will explore the group’s foundations and influences, its legacies, and how those legacies have been preserved.
Sponsor: Keisha-Khan Perry

Akshay Rathod ’10
Bollywood and the Emergence of an Urban Youth Culture
Rathod will explore how the emergence of an urban youth culture in India has affected Bollywood films since the mid-1990s. Examining this youth culture, he will identify the reasons for its influence and the mechanisms through which it has shaped Bollywood industry, aesthetic, and film.
Sponsor: Patrick Heller

Emily Sorg ’10
What Do the Doctors Say? Tracing the History of Prison Medicine in Rhode Island
Sorg will research prison healthcare in Rhode Island during the late 19th century. Using the wide variety of prison-related documents that are available at the state archives, she will synthesize this complicated history into a creative nonfiction piece that is expressive and accessible to a wide public audience.
Sponsor: Catherine Imbriglio

Mana Hayashi Tang ’10
A Survey on Nitrate Reductase Activity in a Northeastern Temperate Forest
Tang will study the adaptability of different tree species in the northeastern United States to excess nitrate deposition caused by urban pollution. The project will attempt to identify which species exhibit the presence of nitrate reductase – an enzyme necessary to assimilate nitrate, and one that is usually biologically unavailable in temperate forests.
Sponsor: Stephen Porder

Emily Taylor ’10
What We Talk About When We Talk About Community: Conflict Resolution in a New York City Public School
Along with Hana Kawai (above), Taylor will explore an innovative, classroom-based conflict resolution strategy in a fourth-grade class in New York City, with particular attention to ways in which the social context of the classroom affects conflict and power as well as how the classroom community uses language to resolve conflicts. Taylor will use her observations to develop a teachers’ guide that both outlines the process and practice of these conflict-resolution meetings and provides insights into best practices for classroom problem-solving..
Sponsor: Peggy Chang

Annalisa Wilde ’11
A Survey of the Diets of Ghanaian Orphans
Annalisa will study the diets of children in six to 10 orphanages in locations across Ghana. The information she gathers will allow her to work with in-country NGOs, developing strategies to maximize and share resources across institutions with the ultimate goal of increasing access to food and creating new economic industries.
Sponsor: Patricia Risica