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February - March 2010 Pacific Fund Grant Winners

Ana Laura Gonzalez-Coria, Communication/English Student

Guatemala Immersion Program

Ana Laura  Gonzalez-Coria in Antigua, GuatemalaAna Laura Gonzalez-Coria is traveling to beautiful Antigua, Guatemala to attend Pacific's Summer Language Immersion Program thanks in part to a Pacific Fund grant of $2,035. Ana Laura is documenting her experience by keeping a blog and sharing photos.  During this 4-week program, she will have six hours a day of one-on-one instruction with a native Spanish speaker and stay at the home of local families. The program also includes weekend excursions, where Ana Laura will have the opportunity to learn more about Mayan culture.

Ana Laura is a junior majoring in English and Communication with a minor in Pre-Law and Ethnic Studies. She plans to become a lawyer and "make a difference in the world." Although a native speaker, she seeks to improve her Spanish through the program, especially for writing. While in Guatemala Ana Laura also plans to participate in a volunteer program to help malnourished children. She said, "Not only do I love doing community service but I also enjoy working with children."

You can follow Ana's blog at

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Stephen Lee, Modern Languages & Literature Student


Stephen LeeStephen Lee '12, who is majoring in Japanese and Chinese as well as Business, received a Pacific Fund grant of $1,500 to produce a video blog of his experiences traveling in Taipei, Taiwan and Kashiwa, Japan through Pacific's Study Abroad program.  The funds enable Stephen to acquire video camera equipment, which will be retained by the Modern Languages and Literature Department for use by future Study Abroad students.

Stephen will spend his junior year abroad: fall semester 2010 at Reitaku University in Kashiwa, and spring semester 2011 at National Taiwan University. He plans to take video footage throughout his entire journey, from pre-departure until his return, and provide regular updates through his YouTube channel, SALtravelTV. The videos will give other students a better idea of what it's like to study abroad and be immersed in the culture and language of foreign countries. Stephen said, "I hope my videos provide joy, laughter and entertainment along with an educational lesson."

You can stay in touch with Stephen while he's abroad at

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Ophelia Turner, Visual Arts Student

Wagashi, Ramen and More: Exploring Food and Culture in Osaka, Japan

Ophelia Turner in a KimonoStudio Arts major Ophelia Turner '12 has been fascinated by Japanese culture and has been studying Japanese since she was 14 years old. Through a Pacific Fund grant of $1,875, she now has the opportunity to visit Japan for the first time. In summer 2010, Ophelia is staying with a local family in Mino, Osaka, and teaching the children English during her 6-week visit.

One of Ophelia's goals for the trip is to pursue the creation of an artistic book that reveals modern Japanese life based on her experiences and observations. This project combines Ophelia's interests in Japanese culture, food, photography and writing. She has taken Dr. Daniel Kasser's Digital Photography course to perfect her photography and Photoshop skills, and she plans to work on the book after she returns. You can follow Ophelia's blog at

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Gesine Gerhard, History Professor and Director of the Gender Studies Program; Andrea Boboc, Professor of English

Gender, Race and Space - An Undergraduate Research Conference (Fall 2010)

A Pacific Fund grant of $3,595 will support an undergraduate conference on gender, race and space being organized by the Gender Studies and Ethnic Studies programs. This conference follows the resounding success of the "Gender and Science" symposium in spring 2008, and gives students experience in presenting their research (analysis) in a formal setting.

Undergraduate students from Pacific and other universities will present their papers addressing the theme of the conference: the production and transformation of living spaces through social relations and interactions, language, policies and representations at the local, national or global level.

The conference will draw on recent scholarship on gender, race and space from several fields, including sociology, architecture, history, anthropology and literature. Several faculty members are participating in the conference, and Mary Ting Yi Lui from Yale University will give the keynote address. Professor Lui is the acclaimed author of The Chinatown Trunk Mystery: Murder, Miscegenation, and Other Dangerous Encounters in Turn-of-the-Century New York City.

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Laura Rademacher, Earth & Environmental Sciences Professor; Traci Roberts-Camps, Modern Languages & Literature Professor

Human Relationships of the Natural World in the Chilean Patagonia

A spring break trip to Chilean Patagonia was planned by Professors Laura Rademacher (Earth & Environmental Sciences) and Traci Roberts-Camps (Modern Languages & Literature) as a way to meld studies of culture and geology for students in the Geology of Chile (GEOS 65) and Latin American Literature (SPAN 135) classes.

A Pacific Fund grant of $5,199 covered some of the expenses associated with a trip, which provided an invaluable opportunity for students to observe geologic processes and cultural presentations first-hand.

The geology of Chile is constantly evolving as the Nazca plate subducts beneath the South American plate. This interaction generates active volcanoes, continually pushes up dramatic mountain ranges, and creates a wide range of dramatic climates. These geologic phenomena have a profound effect on the culture of Chile. Famous Chilean poets, novelists and filmmakers frequently comment on the physical uniqueness of their land. During this field trip, the professors highlighted the connections between the geology and culture of the region.

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Paul Turpin, Communication Department Professor; Marie Hannigova, Visual Arts Professor; Lorrie Knight, Campus Librarian; Greg Joksch, Library Systems and Technology

Through the Eyes of Students: Library Learning Guides Designed by Peers

A variety of online tutorials are offered by the library. However, tutorials designed exclusively by librarians may not be written or presented in a style that is appealing and understandable to students, especially freshmen. A Pacific Fund grant of $700 has allowed two graphic design students (juniors) to be paid for developing web-based tutorials for Pacific's Library website. They will develop the new modules using language and metaphors intended for the student audience.

Cindy Quan is redesigning the PLUTO web resource (Pacific Library Users Tutorial Online) used for the Pacific Seminars PACS 2 class. Camille Brockett is creating an international student orientation guide—a new resource to assist international students in adapting to a new school, culture and country.

These projects will allow Cindy and Camille to showcase their talents, expand their portfolios and gain real-world work experience. They also support learning for freshmen and international students by providing tutorials that are more relevant, interactive and informative.

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Gregg Jongeward, Biological Sciences Department Co-Chair

Developing a Pilot Peer-Based Learning Program in Principles of Biology

Gregg JongewardRecognizing that students often struggle in introductory STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) courses—a problem that can cause students to abandon their major or even drop out of school—the Biology Department is seeking to develop a peer-led learning program to assist students in its Principles of Biology (BIOL 51 and 61) classes. It is common for 30% to 40% of students to earn a D or F in these challenging, fast-paced courses, which are required for Biology majors, pre-health and many Sport Sciences majors.

A Pacific Fund grant of $500 will cover salary for Amanda Nguyen, a recent Biology graduate, to examine other peer-led programs at Pacific, survey current students to analyze reasons for poor performance, and to work with Dr. Jongeward to develop a peer education program in Biology. Dr. Jongeward expects the new program to improve student achievement in the critical early science classes and to develop leadership skills for the students who serve as peer educators.

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Deborah Schooler, Psychology Department Professor

The Psychology of Social Issues: Merging Research and Practice

Dr. Schooler received a Pacific Fund grant of $4,876 toward travel expenses, so she and seven Psychology students can attend the biennial conference of the Society for the Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) in New Orleans, LA, in June 2010, to present their research on the sexual objectification of girls and women.

Graduate students in Dr. Schooler's lab have conducted three separate research projects that address different aspects of this topic, emphasizing strategies for improving girls' health and well-being. Their research, which involved undergraduate students as well, culminated in three papers that are being combined into a symposium at the conference:

  • Objectification and adolescent girls' intimate relationships. (Nunez, Castillano, Dunne, Schooler)
  • Extending social comparisons: Protecting the self from thin-oriented messages. (Lowry)
  • Media literacy training: Increasing adolescent girls' self-worth. (Dunne, Lowry, Nunez, Biesen, Schooler)

SPSSI is a division of the American Psychological Association devoted to using psychology to solve real world problems, address inequities and enact social justice. SPSSI has organized an opportunity for conference attendees to volunteer at a local school in New Orleans.

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Scott Jensen, Psychology Department Professor

Academic Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: An Exploration of Reasons for Use and Non-use by Students with Disabilities

Scott JensenOf the 4,600 students attending University of the Pacific, approximately 200 to 250 (3%) are eligible for academic accommodations offered by the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). This is half the national average of approximately 6% of students receiving such services.

A Pacific Fund grant of $2,600 will enable Dr. Scott Jensen and a team of students to conduct a survey to find out which accommodations are most helpful to students with disabilities, and why they may choose not to use certain accommodations. To encourage a high level of participation in the survey, students with disabilities will receive rewards such as movie tickets or ice cream to complete it.

The goal of the project is to strengthen accommodations for students with disabilities on campus. The survey results will help the SSD office focus resources on accommodations that are most valued by students and address barriers that may keep students from using certain accommodations.

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