Fellows | 11 April 2024

THI Announces 2023-2024 Undergraduate Research Fellows


The Humanities Institute (THI) is thrilled to support seven THI Undergraduate Research Fellows during the 2023-2024 academic year.

Research Fellows come from a range of majors, including Linguistics, Critical Race & Ethnic Studies, and History of Consciousness, and are pursuing a diverse set of projects – from examining 18th-century etiquette guides for women to exploring the ethics of digital pornography. THI fellowships encourage undergraduate students to pursue original projects that build on the research and writing skills they gain during their humanities coursework at UC Santa Cruz. The experience enriches students’ learning and prepares them for future opportunities as they work closely with faculty mentors on projects of interest. As part of our THI Research Fellows Program, we help undergraduate fellows prepare posters to share their research findings at the Humanities Division Spring Awards.

This year, awardees received $1000 each to further support their research pursuits. Cal Boye-Lynn, a Linguistics major, was awarded the Bertha N. Melkonian prize for the top proposal and will receive an additional $1000 award. Look for more information soon about this year’s Humanities Division Spring Awards, where all seven THI Undergraduate Research Fellows will be recognized.

See the fellows’ projects below and check our website for student profiles in the months ahead. You can learn more about how THI supports undergraduate students here.

Congratulations to our newest cohort of THI Undergraduate Research Fellows!

THI Undergraduate Research Fellows

Cal Boye-Lynn, Linguistics
“Investigating Visual Information as a Constraint on Sound Change”

Cal’s project investigates how small perceptual biases might cause large changes in the sounds of the world’s languages. He’s looking specifically at how a particular sound change – palatalization – occurs, to get at how we gather and utilize audio and visual information in understanding our conversation partners.


Ian Chesluk-Staats, Literature
“What’s a Girl to Do? Successful Womanhood in the World of Jane Austen”

Ian’s project focuses on the ways Jane Austen represents and critiques 18th-century ideals of womanhood, using Austen’s fiction as well as 18th and early 19th-century etiquette guides for women. Part of the project involves crafting a choose-your-own-adventure guide aimed at making an understanding of Regency gender norms accessible and fun for a public audience.



Brock Hrehor, Literature/History of Consciousness
“Multicultural Media: Supporting Cultural Pluralism and Fostering Global Awareness through International Radio”

Brock is interested in project how media can be used as a tool to foster cultural pluralism to increase global awareness. Part of his project includes hosting a radio series on KZSC Santa Cruz featuring involves sharing radio from other countries, and discussing what was heard with guests who have ties from the region in focus.


Ivan Jimenez, History/Literature
“L’art Pour la Guerre: The Museo del Prado’s Cultural Power in the Spanish Civil War”

Ivan’s project looks at the the political motivations behind the Second Spanish Republic’s efforts to protect Spanish artworks. The project looks at correspondences between officials of the Second Spanish Republic who were tasked with protecting the Museo del Prado’s collections, in order to identify the extent to which cultural and political concerns drove their efforts.


Molly Maher, History/Psychology
“The Legacy of the Om Commune in Ben Lomond”

Molly is researching the legacy of the Om Commune at the Holiday Cabins in Ben Lomond, in order to identify the purpose of the commune and analyze to what extent it served that purpose. The project makes use of the Special Collections at McHenry Library as well as the archives at the Santa Cruz public library, and the San Lorenzo Valley Museum.


Caroline McDonald, Philosophy/Literature
“Examination of the Ethics of Digital Pornography”

Caroline’s project examines the ethics of digital pornography, including the role of the body in modern philosophy, and the ways digital content curation intersects with questions of exploitation. The project includes a literature review and interviews with BDSM practitioners and other scholars.



Ariattne Zarate Leon, Critical Race & Ethnic Studies/Legal Studies
“Critique of Global Migration Management”

Ariattne’s research explores the impact of foreign and border security policies on the experiences of migrants, especially how such policies contribute to cycles of structural violence, abuse, and community displacement. The project is a comparative case study between Israel and the United States.