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The Summer Institute in the Arts & Humanities

2012 Summer Institute Participants

Below are the participants in the 2012 University of Washington Summer Institute in the Arts and Humanities

Sara Alstrom, International Studies

The Jackson School of International Studies is my home within UW. My track is Latin America with a minor in Spanish and Latin American Studies. After returning from a semester abroad in Chile and being witness to the University Student protests taking place across the country, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to delve into the inner issues of borderlands, social movements, and questioning master narratives. That is how I ended up living in the library for the summer. When I am not spending my time studying, I enjoy playing tennis, finding cult comedies on Netflix, hiking, and/or enjoying the few days of sunshine in the wilderness that Seattle has to offer.

Moe Aoki, Law, Societies & Justice

I am a senior interested in the study of immigration and citizenship. My personal immigration experience sparked my interest in this issue and volunteering at a refugee center in Rome while studying abroad confirmed my aspiration to practice immigration law. My research project for the Summer Institute will explore the concept of liminal legality of the undocumented immigrant youth. My goal is to make visible this invisible population’s stories in an accessible and informative manner. Outside the world of academia, I work at the front desk at an awesome hotel and enjoy hanging out with friends, shopping, and trying out new restaurants.

Jordan Augustine, English

I am in between my second and third years here at the UW, majoring in English. My project has something to do with technologies of identity in online communication and their significane to theories of posthumanism. Things I enjoy when not in the library: movies, parks, sock puppetry, and the Internet.

Michelle Carrizosa, European Studies

My name is Michelle; I am a senior in the Jackson School of International Studies. I have spent the past three years of my life in the US, which so far has been an exquisite & fulfilling experience. During my time in the US, among the many changes I have experience as an individual is that I have transformed into a person incredibly interested in the study of minorities, especially indigenous groups. In my country of origin, I tended to overlook the existing, unjust borderlands in which indigenous groups are historically placed. Through the institute, I hope to be able to gain a better understanding about the existing borderlands of indigenous groups in post-colonial societies. As it is an incredibly complex topic, as days go by, I find it more and more interesting. When I found out about the Summer Institute, I felt the topic was written specifically for me. While there is a deep connection between the topic of borderlands and my studies/educational interests, I, as an individual who has crossed social and cultural borders find this topic exceptionally engaging and fascinating.

Chavie Cramer, English

I am interested in how technology complicates intersections of race, class, and gender in the United States, and how popular narratives function to establish, maintain, and circulate concepts of nationhood and the building of empire. My research this summer focuses on how the Cyberpunk genre functions similarly to conventional western frontier narratives, and examines how an interplay between Manifest Destiny and Neoliberalism currently informs white patriarchic imagining of national identity. My methodology employs both discourse analysis and close reading in cultivating a multifaceted understanding of texts and their sociopolitical positioning and significance.

Pundeep Dhunna, Global Studies

I stepped into the Summer Institute of Arts and Humanities with the perception of gaining knowledge and sharpening my research skills, but during the process, I realized how the institute has transformed me. With this experience, I take home a solid base for my graduate work, polished researcher traits and a character of a knowledge producer. When I am not studying, I like to read and update myself on the latest movies.

Charlotte Franklin, Political Science

My obsession in life is to examine the myriad moving parts that go into this global economy, with a particular interest in rural-to-urban migration in China and its connection to the American consumer society. As a Poli Sci (Political Economy) major with minors in China Studies and Labor Studies, I see the world not as discrete parts but as a complex, continually mutating organism in which we're all sometimes the tail and sometimes the dog. The key is to know when and why each of these states occurs. The Summer Institute provides an opportunity to explore these interconnections in a true interdisciplinary fashion, whilst shamelessly picking the brains of a gloriously talented, diverse and interesting group of fellow students and teachers. What a gift!

Travis Galloway, Spanish

Born and raised in Spokane, I’m entering my third year at the UW studying Spanish and International Studies. You know, if you had asked me three years ago, I would have said the last place you’d ever find me would be Seattle or UW. I didn’t like rain, big schools or classes, or the idea of staying in-state for college…many things have changed. Today, I still hate huge classes, but I’ve found a perfect niche at the U, thanks largely to a few great classes and some really interesting people. My Summer Institute project addresses the role of indigeneity in Latin American politics by taking a close look at the Ecuadorian Amazon, and the controversy surrounding practices of resource extraction. At least I think…

Jessica Gonzalez, History / International Studies: Latin America

A little about me: I am happiest (and at my best) when I am in a space to challenge my own assumptions and the assumptions of others, disrupt ‘standard’ narratives, and question everything in order to gain deeper understanding. I am ethnically Puerto Rican, Polish, and Ukrainian and am very proud of my heritage and my multi-ethnic culture. My intellectual fascination with the complex nature of borderlands likely originates from my many experiences with the diverse borderlands of New York City, NY, Barceloneta, Puerto Rico, Oxnard, California, and Seattle, Washington. Through my encounters in these locations ,I have become the person I am today: a voracious reader, an avid consumer of culture, a family-focused global-minded citizen, passionate about learning and living, engaged in a life-long pursuit to try to understand and experience this world in whatever capacity I can. This summer I plan to explore transnational migration of peoples from the Dominican Republic to coastal communities in Puerto Rico and hopefully challenge simplistic and negative representations of their establishment in their new homeland, uncovering some of the agency Dominicans are systematically denied in mass media.

Elke Hautala, Comparative History of Ideas

An identical twin, wife, actress, student, singer and now scholar and video creator – Elke has had many titles intersect within the borderlands of her life. Having spent fifteen years as a performer she is excited to be engaged in academia at the University of Washington. History, gender studies and media all overlap within the creative space she enjoys working in as a CHID major. The unique and circuitous journey she has taken includes work at international film markets, a position with 20th Century Fox studios and experience as a Seattle Underground tour guide. Her recent accomplishments at UW include a video project for the Women Who Rock Program and a Deborah Kaplan Award for her creative non-fiction piece “Sleepless in San Francisco.” Her concept is a multi-media work examining the effects of public performance, community and gender within the traditionally masculine confines of the art of Lucha Libre (Mexican free wrestling) – a project she hopes to continue to develop further for her thesis.

Marcus Johnson, Global Studies

I am Seattleite who has had the wonderful opportunity of traveling across the world. During my travels, I was exposed to different perceptions about how we in the West view “others.” These notions of difference become more apparent with the concepts of borders and boundaries. My objective is to examine the elements in American media that create a platform for discourse regarding U.S representation of Mexican immigrants. Specifically, I am interested in how the “the immigration question” is represented through textbooks, programs, and media outlets.

Dan Kearney, Political Science

I took a circuitous route to the UW -- first work, then family -- and I'm now on the verge of graduating from college a mere quarter-century after finishing high school. The political scientist in me is fascinated by the way the world works, and I keep looking for the reasons behind social and international trends. The journalist in me (I worked at a newspaper for 10 years) loves to follow the people and institutions that shape our lives. The husband and father in me just wants to make the world a better place.

Mahala Lettvin, American Studies

I am an undergraduate student attending UW Bothell majoring in American Studies. I am on track to graduate next quarter, Autumn 2012, and am deeply saddened by the prospect of leaving. However, I am truly honored to be in the presence of a wonderful faculty and student body for this Summer's SIAH. In addition to my own research, I am fascinated with the research topics of my peers, and the ways in which our projects intersect. In my (imagined) free time I immerse myself in everything to do with writing and word play. I enjoy writing in all forms: poetry, journal entries, academic papers, legal briefs, letters, status updates, and to-do lists. More recently I have been teaching my children the joy of word searches, and we also spend time writing our own lyrics to such classic tunes as "The Alphabet Song," "Hush Little Baby" and more. In addition, I spend time taking my children on adventures to playgrounds (when it is sunny) as well as hosting dance parties to Sesame Street sing-a-long albums (when it's not). One day I will have goals I am able to articulate, but for now I am content with being part of the UW community, and enjoying time with my kiddos.

Alicia Moreno, Social Welfare

As a student in the School of Social Work I have been learning that it often takes the voices of many people to create positive social change. I believe that quality research and data is important here as it can liberate underrepresented groups to stand and make their voices heard. My interests in empowering communities, human nutrition and research have led me to the Summer Institute where I am honored to be spending these precious sunny days. My background in social welfare has me looking at borderlands through the struggles of race, class and power and more importantly through the strengths that lie in these spaces. This summer I look forward to gaining the tools that will provide me the ability to conduct and present strong, influential research and to be able to critically analyze the research of others. When engaging in self-care I enjoy cooking, backpacking, reading science fiction and watching documentaries and psychological thrillers.

Alejandra Olivos, Pre-Sciences

I am a student, daughter, Chicana, muxerista, artist, and a dreamer. My multiple identities have allowed me to be the person I am today, fluid as the river. Being conscious of my surroundings, enriched with knowledge that I have acquired inside and outside of classrooms, and through my activist activities with M.E.Ch.A de UW I have grown and flourished. Though I may tremble around injustices, I will certainly speak out against them. Born in Walla Walla, Washington I grew up working in the fields, am the eldest of 3 siblings, very proud of my Mexican heritage which has also kept me grounded like the roots of the evergreen trees of the northwest. This summer I will be focusing on researching how radical narratives aid identity formation in undocumented youth, and the possibility of the creation of art as an essential tool of survival and empowerment.

Ramiro Reyes, International Studies

Currently a student in the Jackson School, my first two and a half years consisted of solving math and physics problems until I realized my love for math had been replaced by the enticing content of the SIS 200 introductory series. Now pursuing an International Studies major through the development track with a minor in Latin America and Caribbean Studies, I plan to use the SIAH to better understand a marginalized population within a marginalized population throughout U.S. and Mexico. By studying the indigenous Mixtec people of southern Mexico and their experiences as transnational migrant workers, I hope to find out how their identity is influenced by the state, society, and their economic status. Born and raised in Mount Vernon, WA (small town up north famous for tulips), I realized at a young age that there were multiple social dichotomies within my hometown and my wish to better understand my personal experiences has inspired me to pursue this project. I am twenty one years old, I have three younger siblings, and I work at a tiny Russian bakery in Pike Place market that has been visited by Anthony Bourdain. My favorite pastimes include eating at new unique restaurants, working out, visiting film festivals, going to concerts downtown, and spending time with my younger brothers.

Juan Soto, Communication / International Studies: Latin America

In my 11 years in this country I have heard all sorts of comments when I say where I’m from. More often than not, those comments are negative and depict Colombia as the most dangerous place on earth. News about violence, drugs, and corruption are often linked to Colombia, leaving the news about culture, development, and tourism stuck at that borderland. I want to research about how representations of Colombia as the drug capital of the world are constructed in US media? The way Colombia is viewed by the world, especially United States, is constructed by popular Hollywood films casting the country under a violent, drug-producing light. Such stereotypes, even if they are accurate, reinforce the status quo.

Kali Swenson, English

I left Colorado after falling wholeheartedly in love with Seattle and deciding to attend UW. After fooling myself for a while about an interest in science, I became an English major and couldn't be more pleased. I've spent a lot of time reading and writing, and then pondering why I would do such things. I'm really interested in the ways in which literature functions, why it functions in those ways, and how those functions are changing. For this Institute I am narrowing in on the specific context of literature around the time India gained independence from Britain to investigate what role literary works may have played in greater cultural and political relations. I hope for this project to ground my belief in the power of literature.

Anne Wolken, Psychology / Anthropology

Hello! My name is Anne, and I’m a soon-to-be senior majoring in Psychology and Anthropology (the Global Health track). I’m fascinated by the intersection of these two fields, and plan on pursuing a project that examines the socially constructed borders we use to define mental health, and the ramifications of applying them on a global scale. When I’m not immersing myself in my academic interests, I enjoy biking, hiking, singing with the UW Chorale, and hanging out with kids at Seattle Children’s Research Center. I am so thankful for this opportunity, and I can’t wait to see where the summer takes me!

Gaby Wright-Trejo, Global Studies

I am a 28 year-old Global Studies major at the Bothell Campus. I have been helping people in the non-profit sector for over half of my life and have loved every minute of it. I love everything about music and traveling. I am currently taking those interests to another level by researching Nueva Canción in South America.