Established in 1999, the prestigious Summer Research Initiative (SRI) is part of the College’s longstanding commitment to increasing the number of underrepresented minorities who pursue graduate degrees in the social, behavioral and economic sciences. Each year, a talented and diverse group of scholars work with BSOS faculty members to gain laboratory experience that enhances their research knowledge and skills. The program also increases the students’ knowledge of, and interest in, doctoral-level training in the social, behavioral and economic sciences.
The College is proud to welcome its 2015 cohort of Scholars and Mentors.
Ricardo Aguilar is a senior geographical sciences major at the UMD with a focus in geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing. He also is a teaching assistant. Ricardo’s research interests include environmental systems and climate change, and he wants to use remotely sensed data to study how human interaction affects the different ecosystems around the world. Ricardo plans to attend graduate school and obtain a degree in geographical sciences with a focus on remote sensing and environmental science. He ultimately wants to join the faculty of a university.
During the SRI, Ricardo will work with Professor Matthew Hansen in the Department of Geographical Sciences.
Stephanie Marie Bermudez-Cruz is a psychology major and Keystone Honors Academy student at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. Stephanie peer tutors students in Spanish and is a member of the Alpha Nu Rho chapter of the Sigma Tau Delta international English honors society. She also was nominated to join the National Society of Leadership and Success. Stephanie will spend her time in the SRI program focusing on the biology of brain and behavior, particularly in area of human emotion. She wants to enhance the understanding of the neurological underpinnings for disorders in mood, such as depression, in order to help create effective cognitive-behavioral health treatment programs. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a Ph.D.in biological psychology or behavioral neuroscience.
Assistant Professor Alexander Shackman of the Department of Psychology will mentor Stephanie during the SRI.
Eric Craig is a senior at Xavier University of Louisiana, majoring in political science and minoring minor in mass communications. His fields of interest include gun laws within the United States, comparative politics regarding sustainable development in developing countries, and public policy. Eric previously severed as a George Washington Carver research intern at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and is also a member of the Pi Gammu Mu international honor society for social scientists. Eric’s recent work on why states are adopting Stand Your Ground laws was presented at the Southern Political Science Association in January. Eric plans to attend graduate school to earn a doctorate degree in political science.
During the SRI, Eric will work with Professor Irwin Morris, chair of the Department of Government and Politics.
Brandon Darr is a junior College Scholars major at the University of Tennessee. His self-directed programs focus on the intersection of linguistics, education and public policy. His research interests include psycholinguistics; second language acquisition; sociology of education; educational linguistics; heritage language education; bilingual and bicultural education; educational policy; and language policy. Brandon plans to pursue a doctoral degree and wants to return to an institute of higher learning as a faculty member and researcher.
Professor Rochelle Newman, chair of the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, will mentor Brandon during the SRI.
Giselle Hernandez is a senior majoring in cultural anthropology and in communication at Rutgers University. She is currently working on a research project about aesthetic preferences in relation to class and race, specifically in terms of fashion. Hernandez was recently accepted to the Aresty Research Assistant Program in the department of Latino and Hispanic Caribbean Studies at Rutgers. She plans to pursue a Master’s or doctoral degree in anthropology or cultural studies.
During the SRI, Giselle will work with Dr. Brooke Bocast, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Anthropology.
Jacqueline Lepe is a senior at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she is a McNair scholar and a double major in sociology and Spanish, with a minor in feminist studies. Her specific research interests include juvenile justice and educational equity, particularly in the growing incarceration rates of young women of color and in determining whether these young women receive adequate support within the juvenile justice system to ensure their well-being once released. Jacqueline has worked as a lead research assistant for more than two years in multiple projects in the sociology department. Jacqueline plans to pursue a doctorate degree in sociology or criminal justice, and hopes to become a professor and researcher at a higher education institution.
During the SRI, Jacqueline will work with Assistant Professor Kiminori Nakamura in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Chima Okpa is a senior geographic information systems (GIS) major at UMD with an interest in international and sustainable development. His research focuses on the effects of structural and sustainable development in developing communities and related implications on the lifestyles of individuals living in developing countries. Chima was recently an intern with the WindAid Institute, a non-governmental organization, where he designed, built and installed wind turbines for a fishermen community in Playa Blanca, Peru. He intends to pursue two Master’s degrees in GIS and international development to later work in the field of structural and sustainable development in developing countries.
Chima will work with Professor Matthew Hansen in the Department of Geographical Sciences during the SRI.
Grace Oni is a junior majoring in psychology at Morgan State University, where she is on the dean’s list. She belongs to Alpha Lambda Delta, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Chi Alpha Epsilon honors society. She also is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. She is a research assistant for Dr. Terra Bowen-Reid, studying social risk factors and cardiovascular health in African American College Students. Grace is interested in research dealing with the brain and the intricacies of an individual’s behavior. She hopes to pursue a doctoral degree to become a clinical psychologist.
Grace will work with Professor Jack Blanchard, chair of the Department of Psychology, during the SRI.
Chris-Dé-Vaun Parker is a senior sociology major and a Ronald E. McNair Scholar at State University of New York, the College at Brockport. His primary research interests include the complexities of assimilation and racial or ethnical self-identification among immigrants of color from the Caribbean and Africa. He works as an Academic Advisor for the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program, housed at a local community college. He aims to pursue a Ph.D. in sociology in one or more of the following concentrations: the sociology of culture; global and international studies; or structured inequality.
Associate Professor Kris Marsh in the Department of Sociology will mentor Chris-Dé-Vaun during the SRI.
Stanley Portillo is a senior double major in mathematics and economics at UMD. He is a member of the Primannum Honor Society and the Math National Honors Society. He also is a research assistant for the Department of Economics and is researching the impact of unionization on wages and employment during the Great Depression. Stanley also focuses his research on the determinants of inequality; he plans to examine whether deunionization is in part responsible for the rise in pay for corporate executives. Stanley plans to pursue a Ph.D. in economics and to work at the Federal Reserve.
Stanley will work with Assistant Professor Ethan Kaplan of the Department of Economics during the SRI.