Raab Writing Fellows Project Descriptions

2017-18 Projects

Edward Amaro
Project Title: The impact of ethnicity on the lived college experience of UCSB Latinx students
Project Description: As a Latino man, I’ve noticed that ethnicity is strongly emphasized within the Latinx community. Despite being bonded by the same language, the strong diversity in our cultures (e.g. music, food, cultural attire, ways of being, etc.) sets us apart from one another. Therefore, thought it would be interesting to look into ethnicity and its potential impact on students' college experience. My research focuses on answering the following question: Within the Latinx, community if/how does ethnicity impact a student’s lived college experience at UCSB?
Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Caren Converse
Matt Garnica
Project Title: Food Waste in California Universities
Project Description: My project aims to examine food conservation methods in universities across California. I will investigate ways in which these institutions distribute and conserve food products to their students in ways that differ from UC Santa Barbara. I will ultimately create a proposal that stems from my findings to present a food distribution system based on efficient conservation and waste. I will publish and submit this proposal to hopefully influence UC Santa Barbara, as well as other California universities, to make a change in effectively reducing food waste.
Faculty Mentor: Auli Ek
Annmarie Griffin
Project Title: The invisible identity: Influence of religion on the college student and community
Project Description: This project will investigate the impact of religion on the lives of college students. Much of the project will consist of one-on- one interviews with students of various faiths, some who have converted to particular religions, and some who have left an organized religion. The interviews will give insight into personal experience and different ways in which faith and philosophies shape students’ lives beyond just time commitments. The purpose of these interviews is to link actual members of our
community to broader ideas about religion and allow the community to consider the faiths of others in more than just the abstract.
Faculty Mentor: Peter Huk
Margaret Maccoun
Project Title: Creating Beautiful Sites
Project Description: My project gives me the opportunity to marry my passions for writing and community service, in the context of creative web design. First, I will create a personal site that will allow me to develop my online brand. Next, I will implement a new website for a local non-profit, and serve as the lead writer for this site. My goal is to learn more about digital web design while also giving back to the Santa Barbara community.
Faculty Mentor: Auli Ek
Ricardo Moreno
Project Title: In the Background
Project Description: I look to plant greater awareness, empathy and respect for the undocumented and immigrant workforce in Isla Vista by interviewing the individuals then sewing together a multimedia presentation composed of narratives, poems and photographs that strike at the essence of their lives and efforts. Moreover, throughout this journey I will attempt to alleviate some of the stresses they face by carefully blueprinting a plan based on their many inputs.
Faculty Mentor: Bob Krut
Gabe Runte
Project Title: A Contemporary “Land Ethic”: Inspired Voices in the Age of Climate Change
Project Description: The goal of this project will be to illustrate the individual connections that have drawn a number of inspired individuals to become advocates for conservation and environmental mitigation. Diverse professionals from extreme athletes to small-scale farmers have taken it upon themselves to use their positions to create the greatest impact possible, so why don’t we all? The hope is that this project will shed light on the accessibility of advocacy. Politicians and climate scientists too must drive us forward, but each and every person can make a difference.
Faculty Mentor: Amy Propen
Wendy Santamaria & Sudeep Dhanoa
Project Title: The United States of ALEC: Dismantling the Exploitation of the 99%
Project Description: Our research project will investigate the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a nationwide nonprofit composed of state legislators and representatives of corporations and other private interests. ALEC works to create bills that are disguised to seem unbiased, yet they are designed to benefit corporations at the expense of America’s middle and working classes. With our faculty mentor, Heather Steffen, our goal is to investigate the operations of ALEC to determine why they have so much power over our legislative system and to raise awareness about ALEC, in order to spark action to limit ALEC’s influence through an awareness campaign at UCSB that might spread nationally.
Faculty Mentor: Heather Steffen
Kirpa Singh
Project Title: Exploring Mental Otherness
Project Description: My Project is a four part fictional novel that follows the lives of 4, unconnected women who each live with one of 4 diagnoses. The book will be in the first person point of view and will show how these fictional women handle the struggles that come with mental otherness. These women are entirely fictional, however, their experiences will be based on true events. I will be interviewing multiple women from different walks of life who live with different forms of mental otherness and put their experiences to paper and incorporate their experiences into one of the four fictional women’s lives.
Faculty Mentor: Patrick McHugh
Ali Suebert
Project Title: Girl Talk: Reducing Recidivism in the Female Juvenile Prison Population
Project Description: This project’s aim is to research the California Juvenile prison system to better answer the question: Is it benefiting young girls by reducing recidivism? Additionally, it will investigate new, upcoming correctional tactics used by the justice system, such as collaborative court settings, to see whether these programs better meet the needs of young women in the system. The goal is to better understand what resources are working for young girls and what resources are not. Through research and interviews, this project will incorporate academic articles and first-hand testimony to move one step closer to understanding how the California justice system benefits young girls.
Faculty Mentor: Gina Genova
Komal Surani
Project Title: STEM Majors and Creative Writing
Project Description: My project will seek to understand the way STEM majors feel about creative writing. Last year, I did a similar study about the way STEM majors feel about writing. What I found was that STEM majors did think writing was important for their futures, but that they didn’t enjoy writing or think they were good at it, because they almost never had classes that attempted to engage them in writing. With this study, I hope to gain a better understanding of the way that STEM majors view creative writers, and why some of them believe that they cannot creatively write. Ultimately, I hope to understand how our education system can be bettered to encompass writing courses that cater to the needs of STEM majors.
Faculty Mentor: Amanda Stansell
Belle Machado & Kailyn Kausen
Project Title: Spectrum Literary Journal, 61st Edition
Project Description: We are working on the newest edition of the Spectrum Literary Journal. While evaluating work from new and emerging writers for this edition, we will promote the journal through social media, literary communities, advertising, blogging, and our attendance at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference. By the end of the year, our goal is to get the physical journal in the UCSB bookstore and Davidson Library.
Faculty Mentor: Kara Mae Brown

2016-17 Projects

Chelsea Brandwein
 & Erika Carlos

Project Title: All Worked Up: Inside the Lives of Working College Students
Project Description: Our collaborative research project will examine college students’ labor on and off campus. Students perform many of the critical functions that keep universities and their communities running, but scholars have not yet considered the texture of student workers’ lives, the reasons they work, and the potential for exploitation. We will use primary and secondary research to explore undergraduate labor, taking UCSB as our case study, while also researching labor policies that affect student workers at the UC and national levels. We will present our results—in a multimodal digital space, in print, and at an academic conference—for various stakeholders: students, faculty, administrators, activists, and scholars of academic labor.
Faculty Mentor: Heather Steffen

Ben Campbell
Project Title: Mathematics and its History Retold for the General Public
Project Description: The dual goals of this project are to convey the rich history of mathematics and to communicate the beautiful nature of mathematical thinking to a general audience. I will write four pieces that bridge the gap from the earliest Greek logics to the advent of the Russell Paradox and that provide an intuitive understanding of abstract mathematical thinking.
Faculty Mentor: Deborah Harris-Moore

Alexandra DeSanto
Project Title: Nuisance, Convenience, or Assistance? The Rise of Emotional Support Animals and its Consequences – A Multimedia Project
Project Description: I will examine the growing popularity of Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) using journalistic strategies to gather primary and secondary research. The final product will be a form of convergent journalism, in which text is supplemented by images, videos, audio/podcasts, and information graphics.
Faculty Mentor: Janet Mizrahi

Corinne Guichard & Stennalisa Tilcock

Project Title: Spectrum 60th Edition Anthology
Project Description: We will produce and promote the 60th edition of Spectrum, the longest-running literary journal in Santa Barbara and the UC system. This 60th edition will be an anthology of the best work from the past decade of Spectrum publications. In addition to producing a physical journal, we will also redesign the website and promote the journal via social media, advertising, and a presence at the annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference. Our primary goal is to lay down the foundation to return Spectrum to its previous state of national recognition through more rigorous promotion and an increased online presence. 

Faculty Mentor: Kara Mae Brown

Quincy Lee
Project Title: Meeting of the Waters
Project Description: This project explores the art and practice of travel writing, moving from an analysis of contemporary and historical examples of this genre to the production of a travel narrative documenting my trip to Manaus, Brazil. With funding from the Raab Writing Fellowship and other sources, I will travel to Manaus with the goal of writing and presenting its story, via the metaphor of the meeting of the waters, at the RWF final project showcase.
Faculty Mentor: Kevin Moore

Andrew McMaster
Project Title: Entering the Driver’s Seat: College and Growing Into Independence
Project Description: This is a creative examination of how students come to see themselves as autonomous individuals during college, particularly through important life experiences outside of the classroom. I will create a podcast and a long-form digital article based on student interviews, and I will also include recommendations for UCSB as an institution to support student growth.
Faculty Mentor: Patrick McHugh

Isabel Steffens
Project Title: How to Optimize the College Experience
Project Description: In this project, I leverage my past experience in ethnography and data collection to perform qualitative and quantitative research on how various types of people optimize their college experience. I will explore how different factors of higher education such as major, study abroad experience, work experience and GPA, impact salary and what industry an individual ends up working in.
Faculty Mentor: Auli Ek

Amy Tsang
Project Title: Hidden Villa of Isla Vista
Project Description: This project has two parts, both of which are intended to invite more interaction between UCSB students and the elders living at Friendship Manor in Isla Vista. First, I will organize an exhibition, possibly at the UCSB Library, featuring portraits of the residents. Second, I will create a webpage to streamline the volunteering process for students to get involved with the elders at Friendship Manor.
Faculty Mentor: Cissy Ross

Erika Wadsworth
Project Title: Faces of Homelessness
Project Description: For this project, I will work directly with the local homeless community in Isla Vista, and possibly downtown Santa Barbara as well, to develop a booklet that incorporates their experiences and stories. The purpose of this project is to humanize some of the most overlooked and forgotten members of the Isla Vista/Santa Barbara community as well as to comment on the ethical and philosophical implications of the homeless situation in the United States today.
Faculty Mentor: Caren Converse