RCAH Students Presenting at 25th Annual University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF)

April 13, 2023

By Chrystel Lopez '23

Several students from the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities (RCAH) at Michigan State University will present at the University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF), which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. [Abstracts, times, locations, and mentors are listed below.]

In-person presentations are Friday, April 14, 2023, at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Online presentations are accessible anytime at Symposium by ForagerOne.

The RCAH students presenting are Audrey Rauscher '24, Reese'samone Tatum '24, Alissa Hakim '24, Maegan Jankowski '23, Abigail Rodriguez '25, Marielena Silva '23, Matthew Miller '23, Esli Mendoza '24, Fatima Nunez-Sanchez '25, and Kathleen Mayer '25.

UURAF provides MSU undergraduate students with an opportunity to showcase their scholarship and creative activity. Held each spring, UURAF offers a unique educational opportunity for students to gain experience presenting their work, answering questions from audience members and guests, and receiving constructive feedback from judges. 

For more about UURAF, visit http://www.urca.msu.edu/uuraf


RCAH Student Presentations


Presenter(s): Audrey Rauscher, Reese'samone Tatum

Visual & Performing Arts, Exhibit - in person

Presentation Section: 2, at 1:55 PM, Mezzanine Room C

Presentation Number: 3713

Mentor(s): Guillermo Delgado (RCAH)

We will create a magazine and exhibition (and possibly a reading event) and prints of poems written by the communities impacted by mass incarceration in Michigan. The URAs will collaborate with our mentor to create and curate a professionally printed magazine / chapbook and create broadsides of poems for an exhibit that will highlight the RCAH Prison Arts 'Zine Project: poems and 'zines created by RCAH students and members of the incarcerated communities and their families.



Presenter(s): Alissa Hakim

Diversity & Interdisciplinary Studies, Poster - in person

Presentation Section: 1, at 1:00 - 2:30 PM, Breslin Arena

Presentation Number: 1105

Mentor(s): Ashtaan Rapanos (Social Sci), Caitlin Cavanagh (Social Sci)

Juvenile risk assessments evaluate factors that relate to trends in juvenile offending risk and identify potential risk variables. The current research examines the relationship between race/ethnicity and risk levels/factors amongst juvenile delinquents in Ingham County. The Youth Level of Service/Case Management Inventory (YLS-CMI) assessment will provide pre-Covid (2015-2019) data for this research. The project expands on previous research which has found that risk scores for Black youth had a less significant rate of change compared to white youth. Areas of risk for Black youth were also higher than white youth in every variable. Past projects identified structural racism as a barrier that could influence these differences since adversity disproportionately affects minority groups and elicits biases (Kitzmiller, Paruk, Cavanagh 1344). Much of the literature indicated school settings as an area for concern, thus focusing on education, peer relations, personality and behavior, and attitudes and orientations may add to the conversation by illustrating racial/ethnic disparities in risks and risk levels. My hypothesis indicates that nonwhite youth in Ingham County will have the most significant differences in risk levels compared to white juveniles. This project aims to synthesize data with historical and contemporary discussions on juvenile justice to answer the question, "How are disparities in risks and risk levels between juveniles of diverse racial/ethnic background indicative of different needs?"



Presenter(s): Maegan Jankowski

Anthropology & Archeology, Poster - in person

Presentation Section: 3, at 3:00 - 4:30 PM, Breslin Arena

Presentation Number: 221

Mentor(s): Gabriel Wrobel (Social Sci)

The aim for this study is to determine the sex estimation of Mayan skeletal remains based on the analysis of long bones. In order to achieve this, I first had to determine which of the Mayan skeletal remains would be usable for this project. Then, I estimated the sex of each individual by analyzing specfic features of the pelvic girdle. Afterwards, I took the measurement each of the long bones and their specific features, and estimated the sex of each individual based on how robust each of the features were. Lastly, I compared the sex estimation results of the pelvis to the results of the long bone estimation to see if the sex estimation methods matched.



Presenter(s): Abigail Rodriguez

Diversity & Interdisciplinary Studies, Poster - in person

Presentation Section: 2, at 3:00 - 4:30 PM, Breslin Arena

Presentation Number: 1111

Mentor(s): Amanda Flores (Com Arts Sci)

This literature review examines the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Latinx migrant farm workers, with a focus on the disparities in health outcomes, access to healthcare, and labor protections. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the vulnerabilities of Latinx migrant farm workers, a group that has long been subject to systemic inequalities and exploitation. The Bracero Program, a guest worker program that brought Mexican laborers to the United States from 1942 to 1964, provides historical context for the treatment of Latinx migrant farm workers and the subsequent creation of the H-2A program. Despite reforms to labor protections, the lack of legal status, language barriers, and limited access to healthcare many Latinx migrant farm workers are left at risk of COVID-19. The review highlights the need for policy solutions that address the structural barriers faced by Latinx migrant farm workers. These solutions include expanding access to healthcare, ensuring labor protections, providing language services, and addressing the systemic inequalities that have historically left Latinx migrant farm workers vulnerable to exploitation. By addressing the challenges faced by Latinx migrant farm workers during the pandemic, policymakers can work towards a more just and equitable agricultural system. Keywords: Pandemic; coronavirus; COVID-19; immigration; migration; immigration; migrant farm workers; pesticides; healthcare; healthcare inequities



Presenter(s): Alissa Hakim, Marielena Silva

Diversity & Interdisciplinary Studies, Poster - in person

Presentation Section: 2, at 3:00 - 4:30 PM, Breslin Arena

Presentation Number: 1113

Mentor(s): Sitara Thobani (Arts and Humanities), Tama Hamilton Wray (Arts and Humanities)

The RCAH Sister Circle is an organization that aims for the holistic development of undergraduate women of color professionally, personally, and academically. The current research project will analyze how transnational partnerships create a community of practice- virtually and in person. To do so, we will cultivate a space conducive to a reciprocal exchange of knowledge that integrates culture and community in a transnational partnership with the Young Women's Leadership Program at the University of Botswana. Through transcultural collaboration, we aim to foster connections with other woman-centered organizations thus building an environment of sisterhood. The concept of sisterhood has been central to feminist philosophy and organizing. Sisterhood is a connection that is not rooted in identity or physical classifications, but rather by a common struggle built around shared lived experiences and multiple social relations (Zaytoun and Ezekiel 196). Sisterhood is a relationship and a process that brings individuals together to envision a better future; thus, it is categorized as a community of practice. Our study examines the way participants create a community of practice under a framework of developing "meaningful relationships through the shared vulnerability of occupying the ambiguous liminal space" (Erickson 214). For the current research, we aim to answer the question: how do local, national, and global contexts create a community of practice between transnational organizations? We hypothesize that systemic issues, specifically racism and patriarchy, will have similar effects on both organizations but positionality will diverge because of local contexts.



Presenter(s): Matthew Miller

Humanities, Poster - in person

Presentation Section: 1, at 3:00 - 4:30 PM, Breslin Arena

Presentation Number: 2001

Mentor(s): Jason Merrill (Arts and Letters) 147 T

his project is based on an English-language blog I am creating dedicated to LGBTQ+ rights, culture, and activism in Russia following the updated "gay propaganda" law and the ongoing war in Ukraine. The goal of this project is to fill in the gaps in English-language media regarding the ongoing intensification of homophobic and transphobic policies in Russia. While I draw on some English-language sources from U.S. and European publications, my intention is to focus on making Russian-language opposition sources (i.e. Meduza, Dozhd and Radio Svoboda) and advocacy groups (i.e. Vykhod) accessible to an English-speaking U.S. audience. Through my blog entries, I aim to provide the historical, political, and cultural context that has led to the current wave of homophobia and transphobia in Russia. I dissect state-sponsored media sources and their coverage of LGBTQ+ issues, analyze representations of queer and trans people on Russian-language YouTube and other social media platforms, and investigate the intersection of the war in Ukraine and LGBTQ+ rights in Russia. Drawing upon the work of historians like Irina Roldugina and Dan Healy, I also contest the notion that homophobia is a longstanding cultural tradition in Russia. Rather, I demonstrate that the current anti-LGBTQ+ campaign is a carefully cultivated political movement that has been utilized to intensify anti-Western sentiment over the past century.



Presenter(s): Esli Mendoza, Fatima Nunez-Sanchez

Humanities, Poster - in person

Presentation Section: 1, at 3:00 - 4:30 PM, Breslin Arena

Presentation Number: 2006

Mentor(s): Estrella Torrez (RCAH)

This presentation highlights the experiences of two undergraduate students in a youth mentorship program, where they worked with high school students, undergraduate peers, and community members of the greater Lansing area. The undergraduate researcher assistants (URAs) prepared for the program by analyzing and adapting methods such as LatCrit and Critical Race Theory into their work, allowing students to better understand supporting first-gen students, Latinx individuals attending a predominantly white institution, and addressing mental health in the Latinx community. The URAs recruited Latinx students and local leaders to establish mentorship dynamics. As they organized the project, they encountered hidden struggles, including difficulties reconnecting post-COVID and mental health challenges. Adjusting to life post-Trump era and COVID-related challenges allowed the URAs to understand the exhaustion experienced by the Latinx community. At the end of the academic year, the URAs reflected on the impact of the program and those involved in their lives. Through their experiences, the URAs learned the process and effort required to coordinate these support groups, and the importance of understanding and addressing the unique challenges facing Latinx youth.



Presenter(s): Kathleen Mayer

Arts & Humanities, Oral - virtual Presentation

Section: 1, at April 12 - 14, Online / Virtual

Presentation Number: 4303 264

Mentor(s): Marsha Macdowell (RCAH)

In December 2022, I began an object-based research project focused on a quilt that was acquired by Michigan State University Museum. The only data that accompanied the acquisition was that it was purported to be affiliated with a group of Quakers. The quilt itself offered many clues to be investigated as individual names and phrases were stamped in black ink on 39 of the 85 blocks forming the quilt. Both male and female names were listed and some of the last names were similar. The phrases included anti-war and religious sentiments. A few blocks contained a location - Salem, Ohio - and one contained a date - 1846. My research task was to find answers to questions such as: Who are the people whose names are inscribed on the quilt? What connects them to each other? Who made the quilt? What was the purpose of the quilt/why was the quilt made? Is it really a Quaker quilt? And, if yes, how does this quilt reflect Quaker culture? Is this quilt unusual or is it part of a tradition of quilt art? What was going on in Salem, Ohio, in the mid-19th century? My presentation will describe the research processes I used to investigate these clues and questions; I will report on what I have found to date.