2023 Honors Research Features

In addition to the required honors core courses, honors students conduct undergraduate research with the guidance of a faculty mentor, which for many students is the highlight of their college career. CHC students participate in a minimum of two quarters of research, which culminates in the production of an honors thesis, creative project, or publication-quality paper. Read about some of the research students conducted below!

Mary Ocumen

For 2022 CHC Psychology graduate, Mary Ocumen, research began as a top level look at the intersection of Psychology and Asian American Studies but ultimately became something more intrinsically meaningful to Mary and focused on individual stories:

“When I first began this project, I initially planned on exploring the evolution of mental health treatment within the Asian American community. Overtime, my project evolved into something more personal and instead, focused on generational trauma and its impact on the current generation of Asian Americans. Through interviewing other Asian Americans I was able to hear their stories, learn about their mental health experiences, and how they have been influenced by the generations before them. Mental health is important and will always matter, and it is important to understand how those who come before us have shaped us and our experiences today in order to better understand our own lives.”

Mary’s thesis, titled, “Generational Trauma and the Model Minority Myth: An Exploration of the Asian American Experience,” was guided by faculty advisor Professor Isabela Quintana of Asian American Studies.


Cove Ong

2023 CHC graduate, Cove Ong, takes a look at “Virtual Youtubers” or “VTubers” and their relationship with increasingly passionate fan bases and the culture that created the VTuber’s influence.

“This topic that has become more prevalent with the expansive use of technology in all forms of entertainment, and also considers diversity in places we don’t usually think about. The aim of my research is to understand how and why people form these almost cult-like followings and parasocial relationships with VTubers and the psychological impact of these online relationships. I also aim to look at the influence of Japanese idol and celebrity culture on the way VTubers are “cultivated”, especially with regards to stereotypically misogynistic Asian attitudes about “purity” and “innocence.”

Cove’s thesis, titled, “VTubers and Misogyny: How Patriarchal Expectations Color Streamer-Audience Interaction,” was guided by faculty advisor Professor Katie Salen Tekinbaş of Informatics.



Angela C. Rosa

Angela C. Rosa’s CHC thesis “Misgendering in the Media” aims to understand how this specific form of discrimination functions in American media. Angela’s thesis also earned her Honors in the UCI School of Ecology, Spring 2022.

“Misgendering in the media is one form of discrimination that LGBTQ+ people experience, especially women of color (Billard, 2018). The goal of this study was to (1) examine the occurrences of misgendering in news media over a 10-year span to better understand if the problem is increasing or decreasing, and (2) to understand the relationship between misgendering in liberal, conservative, and politically neutral leaning news media.”

Angela’s thesis, titled, “Misgendering in the Media,” was guided by faculty advisor Professor Amy Dent and Professor Brandon Golob of the School of Social Ecology.




Edgard A. Diaz-Ramos

2022 Graduate Edgar A. Diaz-Ramos takes a look at the challenges he and his peers face in an increasingly volatile employment market.

“This study aimed to investigate if members of Generation Z have different drivers of employee engagement than older generations by asking Gen Zers of 18-24 years to complete an online survey and using inferential statistics to determine these associations. Analysis of the findings showed that Gen Zers showed similar drivers of engagement to past generations of workers but reported a significantly larger correlation between pay satisfaction and employee engagement.”

Edgard’s thesis, titled, “Generation Z: Driving Factors of Employee Engagement,” was guided by faculty advisor Professor Emerita Jone L Pearce.



Amalia Navarro

2022 CHC graduate Amalia Navarro’s CHC research takes a look at DACA- Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals- how its covered by American media and how that coverage affects perceptions of the program.

The news we consume online has subconscious effects on our understanding of other cultures, beliefs, and in this context, large political conversations surrounding programs like DACA. 20 different news articles from five different political perspectives were analyzed on the language used to describe DACA to conceptualize how it affected Americans’ understanding of the program and its current issues of legality. Each article was analyzed on an individual level, and then similarities were drawn between news sources, various political beliefs, and across both the news articles and the legal documents from my prior legal research.”

Amalia’s thesis, titled, “Media Coverage of the Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) And Its Effects on the American Public” was guided by faculty advisor Professor Brandon Golob.



Kevin Si

2022 Graduate Kevin Si’s CHC research “explored the relationship between community cultural wealth and college persistence amongst first-generation BIPOC undergraduates in the context of student programming.”  Kevin stated that “the intersectionality of these identities is something that [he] can strongly relate to and [he is] sure other undergraduate students here at UCI will be intrigued to learn more about.”

“The qualitative study examined various forms of capital framed by Yosso’s Community Cultural Wealth Model (2005) to determine the impact of cultural wealth factors on students’ college persistence. Results showed that providing family support was a motivating factor for participants to pursue a college education, and mentors within the student program were attributed to an increase in participants’ self-efficacy in transitioning to a university environment.”

Kevin’s thesis, titled, “First-Generation BIPOC Undergraduates’ College Persistence: A Community Cultural Wealth Perspective” was guided by faculty advisors Professor Jeanett Castellanos and Professor Corina Espinoza.


Jacqueline Keiko Markham

2022 CHC graduate Jacqueline’s research aims to highlight the underrepresented perspectives of indigenous people.

“The main purpose of this research paper is to better understand why representations of indigeneity are often antiquated or left as an absent presence, especially in academia. While the current social culture of minority representation seemingly creates a space for expressions of indigeneity, there is a fundamental problem in the multicultural understanding of those expressions as racial. This research began as a way to understand Laguna Pueblo cultural thought at work in Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead. The dire need to reshape what is meant by “Indian” came through reading The Transit of Empire by Jodi Byrd, which argues that postcolonialism leaves the indigenous subject within transit, constantly being shaped into various categories or ideas as it suits the larger project of settler colonialism.”

Jacqueline’s thesis, titled, “Leslie Marmon Silko and Jodi Byrd: Exploring Indigenous Critical Theory” was guided by faculty advisor Professor Srimayee Basu.

Raini Do

2022 CHC graduate Raini Do’s honors thesis takes a unique approach by aiming to understand the connection between Vietnamese American identity and Vietnamese businesses.

“This thesis focuses on three businesses–the Asian Garden Mall, Disneyland, and 7Leaves– to understand how Asian American panethnicity developed in Orange County. In doing so, I ask what it means to assimilate into American society in the context of a majority-minority urban space. Little Saigon and Orange County Vietnamese businesses appeal to a broader audience by utilizing a pan-Asian American model that detracts from the individual cultures that help influence them. Frank Jao created the Asian Garden Mall in order to promote tourism and bring more prosperity into the area. His intentions to appeal to a broader audience put him at odds with members of the community who wanted to maintain a distinctive Vietnamese identity. In more recent times however, 7Leaves and Disneyland have shown that cultural and economic success can be achieved by using a pan-Asian product.”

Raini’s thesis is titled, “The Cost of Incorporation: An Examination of the Vietnamese American Identity Through the Lens of Business Developments” was guided by faculty advisor Professor Isabela Quintana.