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Pitzer Senior Theses

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Full-Text Articles in Social and Behavioral Sciences

The Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary: An Exploration Of Changing The Discourse On Conservation, Arielle Ben-Hur Jan 2020

The Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary: An Exploration Of Changing The Discourse On Conservation, Arielle Ben-Hur

Pitzer Senior Theses

In 2015, the Northern Chumash Tribal Council submitted a National Marine Sanctuary Nomination to establish the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary– a means by which to ensure the protection of one of the most culturally and biologically diverse coastlines in the world. On October 5, 2015, John Armor of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) responded to the nomination, adding it to the inventory of areas NOAA may consider in the future for national marine sanctuary designation.

In my thesis, I explore how the nomination of the Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary acts as a platform from which Traditional ...


Rights, Water, And Guardians: How Rights Of Nature Movements Are Reshaping Our Current Environmental Ethics And What These Policies Need To Be Successful, Megan Schmiesing Jan 2020

Rights, Water, And Guardians: How Rights Of Nature Movements Are Reshaping Our Current Environmental Ethics And What These Policies Need To Be Successful, Megan Schmiesing

Pitzer Senior Theses

Giving legal rights to nature is no longer a fringe idea in international environmental law. Rights of Nature movements have gained traction in countries around the world, including Ecuador, Australia, India, Aotearoa New Zealand, and the United States. The act of organizing to recognize legal rights and legal personhood for nature represents a philosophical, moral, and political shift from previous anthropocentric values. Through two case studies in Aotearoa New Zealand and the United States, this thesis examines the policy language and the context and history that led to their creation. The Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Act and ...


The Weaponization Of Poverty: An Investigation Into United States Military Recruitment Practices In High Schools Of Low-Income Communities In The Inland Empire, Michael Springer-Gould Jan 2020

The Weaponization Of Poverty: An Investigation Into United States Military Recruitment Practices In High Schools Of Low-Income Communities In The Inland Empire, Michael Springer-Gould

Pitzer Senior Theses

Military recruitment in the United States is a highly contentious subject that has yielded a multitude of prior research across a variety of academic concentrations. To further the conversation, I narrow my focus to Southern California’s Inland Empire (IE) to explore practices of military recruitment in high schools that serve students in low-income communities. I begin with a general overview of life and labor in the Inland Empire before moving into prior research on military recruitment. My empirical research consists of five in-depth interviews documenting the lived experiences of individuals hailing from and attending high school in low-income communities ...


Climate Translators: Broadcast New's Contribution To The Political Divide Over Climate Change In The United States, Dylan V. Macy Jan 2020

Climate Translators: Broadcast New's Contribution To The Political Divide Over Climate Change In The United States, Dylan V. Macy

Pitzer Senior Theses

In many instances, television news is the primary outlet through which people gain knowledge on climate change. Both the perceived threat of climate change and American news media have grown politically divided since the 1980s. I make the argument that American news media influences the partisan divide over climate change. In addition to the political landscape of news media, focus on political events and figures in climate coverage further contributes to a partisan divide. Supporting these claims are research displaying how climate change news is processed in a partisan manner and a selection of three case study periods in which ...


Towards A Resilient Future: Federal Policies For Adapting The U.S. Coasts To Climate Change, Samuel Horowitz Jan 2020

Towards A Resilient Future: Federal Policies For Adapting The U.S. Coasts To Climate Change, Samuel Horowitz

Pitzer Senior Theses

Climate change is projected to have a devastating impact on the American coast, yet coastal communities and states have largely failed to prepare for projected impacts. This is in large part due to a lack of resources. This thesis analyzes innovative federal policy mechanisms that will address the current gap between actions and forecasted impacts, and will make U.S. coastal communities more resilient in the face of climate change.


Present And Passionate: A Critical Analysis Of Asian American Involvement In The United States Environmental Justice Movement, Emily M. Ng Jan 2020

Present And Passionate: A Critical Analysis Of Asian American Involvement In The United States Environmental Justice Movement, Emily M. Ng

Pitzer Senior Theses

Communities of color are disproportionately exposed to toxins and pollution. The environmental justice movement addresses the greater health and environmental risks experienced by minority groups. Although Asian Americans are the fastest growing population in the United States, there is little known about their involvement in the movement. In this thesis, I further observe Asian American involvement in the United States environmental justice movement. By analyzing community case studies, I identify Asian American-specific mobilization challenges and strategies. Interviews with prominent Asian American environmental justice activists reveal activism and collective identity are connected, but vary greatly according to individualized Asian American experiences ...


Urban Renewal Or Urban Legend? Re-Historicizing Human-River Relationships Disrupted By Displacement Before And Now In Los Angeles, Jamie Sophia Helberg Jan 2020

Urban Renewal Or Urban Legend? Re-Historicizing Human-River Relationships Disrupted By Displacement Before And Now In Los Angeles, Jamie Sophia Helberg

Pitzer Senior Theses

This thesis speaks to how historical and on-going colonization of the river has consistently traumatized the relationship disadvantaged communities have had with the Los Angeles River. By historicizing those relationships, I argue that current use of human-centered market-based strategies to revitalize the river only furthers serial displacement of disadvantaged communities and will not adequately achieve sustainability. Using Frogtown as a case study, I also explore methods of resiliency to “green gentrification," an agent of neocolonialism along the river. In studying the placemaking practices implemented in Frogtown, I problematize notions of gentrification as “natural” and "necessary" for river revitalization. Elements of ...


Elevating Equity: Strategies From State-Level Clean Energy Standards In The United States, Spencer Burget Jan 2020

Elevating Equity: Strategies From State-Level Clean Energy Standards In The United States, Spencer Burget

Pitzer Senior Theses

I compare strategies for equity in state-level clean energy standards across the United States. I avoid adopting an explicit definition of equity because I do not attempt to evaluate the impacts of these policies. Rather, I analyze how different states are forging their own definitions of equity within their clean energy policy. Specifically, I present case studies of four early adopters that have championed equity in their clean energy transition. First, New Mexico offers a unique strategy for protecting displaced fossil fuel workers through power plant securitization. Next, California’s robust policy context demonstrates how to minimize the financial impact ...


Mapping Land Use Around The San Francisco Bay: A Look At Environmental Justice Through S. F. Bay Conservation And Development Commission’S Permitting History, Aviva R. Wolf-Jacobs Jan 2019

Mapping Land Use Around The San Francisco Bay: A Look At Environmental Justice Through S. F. Bay Conservation And Development Commission’S Permitting History, Aviva R. Wolf-Jacobs

Pitzer Senior Theses

Planning and regulatory environmental agency San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) plays an important role in the permitting of development around the San Francisco Bay. As the agency works to add an environmental justice amendment to its primary policy document, this research explores the S.F. Bay Area’s history of approved development project proposal permits, and the associated patterns of land use and environmental justice implications in order to support the proposed change in permitting policy. By classifying all major permits found within BCDC’s internal permit database into groups based on the type of land use ...


Campaigning On An Environmental Justice Platform: Irmalinda Osuna For Upland City Council, District 3, Jenny Bekenstein Jan 2019

Campaigning On An Environmental Justice Platform: Irmalinda Osuna For Upland City Council, District 3, Jenny Bekenstein

Pitzer Senior Theses

After successfully organizing around preserving Cabrillo Park in Upland and feeling a lack of local political representation, Irmalinda Osuna ran for Upland City Council in the 2018 midterm elections. As one of the many female candidates in the 2018 elections, Irmalinda led a grassroots, community-led political campaign in which she advocated for environmental justice and the preservation of parks, a more inclusive community, increased civic participation, a more efficient use of technology in politics, and support for small businesses.


Women In The Wage Economy: A New Gendered Division Of Labor Amongst The Inuit, Hannah Buehler Jan 2019

Women In The Wage Economy: A New Gendered Division Of Labor Amongst The Inuit, Hannah Buehler

Pitzer Senior Theses

Inuit constructions of gender in the pre-colonial period were centered around a gendered division of subsistence tasks. It is through this division of labor which gender roles, gendered socialization and spousal roles were formed. However, during the colonial period Inuit subsistence and the role it plays in Inuit society was rapidly and drastically changed. By analyzing the work of three different Arctic ethnographers documenting Inuit subsistence in different time periods and national contexts, this thesis will analyze how political, economic and environmental change in the Arctic has altered Inuit subsistence practices from European contact through the contemporary era. By analyzing ...


The Sea Turtle As A Marketing Symbol For The Anti-Plastics Movement, Hannah Chiu Jan 2019

The Sea Turtle As A Marketing Symbol For The Anti-Plastics Movement, Hannah Chiu

Pitzer Senior Theses

The anti-plastic straw movement uses the sea turtle to bring an empathetic symbol to broaden the scope of the plastics problem in the ocean, giving the public a powerful visual image for the first time in the history of the anti-plastics movement. In this thesis, I build on existing conversations on charismatic megafauna and flagship species, to explore the emerging anti-plastic straw movement and its use of the sea turtle as a symbol. I also provide an analysis of the imagery and comments on social media sites of green marketing companies and non-governmental organizations. These social media sites, such as ...


Confronting The Ngo: Struggling For Agency And Approximating Freedom Through The Works Of Michel Foucault And Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Samantha Coss Jan 2019

Confronting The Ngo: Struggling For Agency And Approximating Freedom Through The Works Of Michel Foucault And Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Samantha Coss

Pitzer Senior Theses

This project aims to consider the proliferation of the NGO in the 21st century and the implications that this model has for justice, freedom and social change. The nonprofit, or nongovernmental organization, will be examined using theorists and thinkers Michel Foucault and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, in hopes of understanding the ways in which the NGO limits freedom and perpetuates violence. There will be an exploration of struggling for agency beyond the nonprofit, including an introduction to examples of other change-making models from the United States and Latin America. The goal of this project is to critically examine the current frameworks ...


Hidden Cracks In The Leaking Stem Pipeline: Retention Within First-Generation Latinx Students In Baccalaureate Stem Programs At Predominately White Institutions, Kevin Kandamby Jan 2019

Hidden Cracks In The Leaking Stem Pipeline: Retention Within First-Generation Latinx Students In Baccalaureate Stem Programs At Predominately White Institutions, Kevin Kandamby

Pitzer Senior Theses

This thesis documents the lived experiences of first-generation Latinx students navigating

through predominately white institutions while attaining or attempting to attain a STEM degree. To examine this, twelve students from five different institutions were interviewed in semi- structured focus groups to better understand the educational trajectories of students in STEM. Inadequate high school preparation, educational disparities, mental health, and lack of institutional support were some of the reoccurring concerns students had across all focus groups. Students also highlighted that cultural competency across faculty in STEM, support from identity groups, and returning back to their Latinx community to serve as professionals ...


The Impact Of Socioeconomic Status On College Students’ Experiences, Shaafi A. Farooqi Jan 2019

The Impact Of Socioeconomic Status On College Students’ Experiences, Shaafi A. Farooqi

Pitzer Senior Theses

This qualitative research project examines the role of socioeconomic status in shaping the experiences of students attending Pearson College, an elite liberal arts college in Southern California. One hour-long, semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) students in order to better understand APIDA student experiences and their views on the college’s efforts to support class-based diversity and inclusion. Findings include insights into challenges faced by college students, how they understand privilege and identity, and where college students find support. These results have implications for Pearson College, and similar liberal arts colleges, to implement changes ...


Stormwater Capture In The Built Watershed: Fostering Public Awareness Of Water Conservation Through A Parcel-Level Approach To Stormwater Management, Benjamin Rigby Jan 2018

Stormwater Capture In The Built Watershed: Fostering Public Awareness Of Water Conservation Through A Parcel-Level Approach To Stormwater Management, Benjamin Rigby

Pitzer Senior Theses

As California contends with climate change and more extreme cycles of drought and deluge, water management agencies and conservation groups are looking towards solutions to the decreasing reliability of imported water supplies. Stormwater has historically been perceived as a threat to development but when captured properly, it presents a resource that can augment local water supplies. Solutions to water supply issues in California have traditionally employed technical and centrally controlled methods for importing water, but there is a growing understanding that parcel-level capture through vegetated swales presents an opportunity for reducing the impact that development has on California’s hydrology ...


The Educational Opportunity Structure And Stratification Of College Counseling At Southern California Public High Schools, Adriana Ceron Jan 2018

The Educational Opportunity Structure And Stratification Of College Counseling At Southern California Public High Schools, Adriana Ceron

Pitzer Senior Theses

This study documents how organizational strategies underlying college counseling departments modify counselors’ ability to perform their academic and college advising duties. To examine this, fifteen semi-structured, in-depth interviews with public high school counselors in Southern California were conducted. A district’s commitment to college access and opportunity, as well as parents’ expectations for maintaining a college-going culture, shaped the nature of college counseling and organizational habitus in a school. Counselors reported that access to different forms of institutional support and resources diminish or exacerbate the structural constraints known to surface in public schools. This influenced when and how counselors advised ...


Why Do Underrepresented Minorities Leave Science And Engineering?, Cindy Onyekwelu Jan 2018

Why Do Underrepresented Minorities Leave Science And Engineering?, Cindy Onyekwelu

Pitzer Senior Theses

This paper extends upon Jennifer Hunt’s research on “Why do women leave science and engineering?”, that contributes to existing literature that overlooks underrepresented minorities level of commitment to STEM fields based on their STEM educational backgrounds and additional contributing factors that relates to women engineer’s leaving their felid to another felid that does not have any relation to their STEM degree. The following independent factors are the respondents’ gender, reasons for leaving the felid of major, how much does their highest degree relate to their current principle/ primary job, parents’ level of education, current citizenship status, level of ...


Indigenous-Led Resistance To Environmental Destruction: Methods Of Anishinaabe Land Defense Against Enbridge's Line 3, Charlotte Degener Hughes Jan 2018

Indigenous-Led Resistance To Environmental Destruction: Methods Of Anishinaabe Land Defense Against Enbridge's Line 3, Charlotte Degener Hughes

Pitzer Senior Theses

Enbridge has proposed the Line 3 “Replacement” Project, a new pipeline project taking a new route strait through Anishinaabe treaty territory in what is known as northern Minnesota. In the middle of the regulation process, the future remains unclear of how the State of Minnesota will move forward with the permitting process, but Anishinaabe communities, a range of non-profit organizations, and local landowners remain firmly against the line. Rooted in varied frameworks of Native sovereignty, the land, and Indigenous feminism, Anishinaabe communities lead the resistance against a product of ongoing settler colonialism, racial capitalism, and environmental racism. This thesis contextualizes ...


Sustainability-Efficiency Paradox: The Efficacy Of State Energy Plans In Building A More Sustainable Energy Future, Austin Zimmerman Jan 2018

Sustainability-Efficiency Paradox: The Efficacy Of State Energy Plans In Building A More Sustainable Energy Future, Austin Zimmerman

Pitzer Senior Theses

State energy plans are created at the request of a sitting governor or State Legislature in order to provide guidance set goals for the state’s energy sector. These plans will be critical indicators of energy trends such as the future market share of coal, natural gas, and renewables. If the future of energy in the United States is to be remotely sustainable, low-carbon policies must headline state plans. The strength of a state’s energy plan in terms of sustainability is directly related to that state’s willingness to prioritize and commit to incorporating energy sources that produce negligible ...


Drowning In Rising Seas: Navigating Multiple Knowledge Systems And Responding To Climate Change In The Maldives, Rachel Hannah Spiegel Jan 2017

Drowning In Rising Seas: Navigating Multiple Knowledge Systems And Responding To Climate Change In The Maldives, Rachel Hannah Spiegel

Pitzer Senior Theses

The threat of global climate change increasingly influences the actions of human society. As world leaders have negotiated adaptation strategies over the past couple of decades, a certain discourse has emerged that privileges Western conceptions of environmental degradation. I argue that this framing of climate change inhibits the successful implementation of adaptation strategies. This thesis focuses on a case study of the Maldives, an island nation deemed one of the most vulnerable locations to the impacts of rising sea levels. I apply a postcolonial theoretical framework to examine how differing knowledge systems can both complement and contradict one another. By ...


The Experiences Of Teachers At Southern California Continuation High Schools: Exposing The Barriers Within Alternative Education, Gabriela R. Ornelas Jan 2017

The Experiences Of Teachers At Southern California Continuation High Schools: Exposing The Barriers Within Alternative Education, Gabriela R. Ornelas

Pitzer Senior Theses

My project explores the role of teachers at Southern California continuation high schools as it relates to serving low-income students of color in the face of the institutional barriers within alternative education. My study focuses on the teachers’ career, interactions with students, and opinions on accessibility to resources and funding. I have examined their experiences through twenty in-depth, semi-structured interviews with teachers from three districts. My findings indicate that district members’ misconceptions of Latinx students as inherently deviant and academically unengaged drive institutional issues creating financial burden for which teachers are forced to compensate. My study highlights that continuation high ...


Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors, Please: Transit Equity, Social Exclusion, And The New York City Subway, Taylor Novick-Finder Jan 2017

Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors, Please: Transit Equity, Social Exclusion, And The New York City Subway, Taylor Novick-Finder

Pitzer Senior Theses

The history of transportation planning in New York City has created disparities between those who have sufficient access to the public transportation network, and those who face structural barriers to traveling from their home to education, employment, and healthcare opportunities. This thesis analyzes the legacy of discriminatory policy surrounding the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and city and state governments that have failed to support vital infrastructure improvement projects and service changes to provide multi-modal welfare to New York’s working poor. By exploring issues of transit equity as they pertain to the New York City subway system, this thesis raises ...


Democracy In The Dark: An Energy Democracy Model Centering Property And People, Feby Boediarto Jan 2017

Democracy In The Dark: An Energy Democracy Model Centering Property And People, Feby Boediarto

Pitzer Senior Theses

The United States’ electric macro-grid provides electricity for all people to sustain our lifestyle. The current governing institutions that generate our electricity limit community representation, causing procedural injustice particularly to communities of color. This thesis is a contribution to the Energy Democracy literature, describing a community-based electricity model that includes two components: property and people. I argue to include an in-depth study of John Locke’s theories on property, in addition to Elinor Ostrom’s Institutional Analysis and Development Framework to promote local knowledge in understanding how physical space and governing bodies strengthen the Energy Democracy movement. In addition, I ...


The District's Stepchild: The Total Erasure Of Low-Income Latinx Students' Needs At Continuation High Schools, Gabriela R. Ornelas Jan 2017

The District's Stepchild: The Total Erasure Of Low-Income Latinx Students' Needs At Continuation High Schools, Gabriela R. Ornelas

Pitzer Senior Theses

My study explores the underlying factors that allow systemic structural issues to exist within continuation high schools which result in the low educational performance of low-income Latinx continuation students. My study focuses on educators’ experiences, as I conducted 20 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with Southern California continuation high school teachers. I focused on the following areas of study: the teacher’s career, the teacher’s interactions with students, and the teacher’s opinions regarding their accessibility to funding and resources. My findings indicate that teachers, the outer community, and school-board administrators utilize cultural deficit thinking and stigmatization as tools of total ...


When Society Becomes The Criminal: An Exploration Of Society’S Responsibilities To The Wrongfully Convicted, Amelia A. Haselkorn Jan 2016

When Society Becomes The Criminal: An Exploration Of Society’S Responsibilities To The Wrongfully Convicted, Amelia A. Haselkorn

Pitzer Senior Theses

This thesis explores how society can and should compensate those who have been wrongfully convicted after they are exonerated and how we can prevent these mistakes from happening to others in the future. It begins by presenting research on the scope of the problem. Then it suggests possible reforms to the U.S. justice system that would minimize the rate of innocent convictions. Lastly, it takes both a philosophical and political look at what just compensation would entail as well as a variety of state compensation laws.


What A Waste: Segregation And Sanitation In Brooklyn, New York In The Post-Wwii Era, Amanda T. Chang Jan 2016

What A Waste: Segregation And Sanitation In Brooklyn, New York In The Post-Wwii Era, Amanda T. Chang

Pitzer Senior Theses

Through studying the intersections of sanitation and segregation in Brooklyn, New York in the post-WWII era, this thesis reveals a web of willful white negligence that constructed a narrative that supports continued environmental injustices towards black Americans. As a result of housing discrimination, the lack of sanitation, and the political and social climate of the 1950s, black neighborhoods in Brooklyn became dirtier with abandoned garbage. Institutional anti-black racism not only permitted and supported the degradation of black neighborhoods, but also created an association between black Americans and trash. In the present day, this narrative not only leads to the increased ...


The Price Is Right: Investigating Net Metering Policies For Rooftop Solar In California, Jesse Honig Jan 2016

The Price Is Right: Investigating Net Metering Policies For Rooftop Solar In California, Jesse Honig

Pitzer Senior Theses

As an increasing number of homeowners decide to take advantage of distributed renewable resources such as rooftop solar, we may need to rethink the current regulatory paradigm and governance structure of the electric market. This thesis examines the shortcomings of current net metering programs in California. While the current Net Metering 2.0 proceeding highlights a clash of solar advocates and electric utilities, it is in fact revealing an underlying structural flaw that has been present all along. In order to send the appropriate price signals to solar customers, both the structure by which utilities recover costs and the rate ...


Parting The Green Curtain: Tracing Environmental Inequality In Portland, Oregon, Lindsay E. Mccord Jan 2016

Parting The Green Curtain: Tracing Environmental Inequality In Portland, Oregon, Lindsay E. Mccord

Pitzer Senior Theses

This thesis utilizes a lens of environmental justice to analyze the history of Portland, Oregon and the formation of the Albina neighborhood in North Portland to understand how this community became a space of environmental inequality. Portland has been a leader in sustainable development, and yet, even with its successes, the city either been unable or unwilling to address the disproportionate impacts of environmental hazardss on low-income and communities of color in Albina. Through an examination of Portland’s history of segregation, stigmatization of Albina and its residents, housing policies, and urban renewal as they relate to Albina, this thesis ...


“Becoming Ioway: Using Auto-Ethnography To Understand The Fourteen Ioways’ Journey Of Colonization, Spirituality And Traditions Through Tribal Dance Exhibitions, Sarita R. Mc Gowan Jan 2016

“Becoming Ioway: Using Auto-Ethnography To Understand The Fourteen Ioways’ Journey Of Colonization, Spirituality And Traditions Through Tribal Dance Exhibitions, Sarita R. Mc Gowan

Pitzer Senior Theses

This thesis analyzes the colonization and traditional spiritual practices of the Ioway people to show that their traditions have survived the effects of colonization also known as white settlers. I focus on issues of cultural traditional exhibition dance and that complicates the question of the nation-state’s exclusively trying to dissemble the Native Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska of colonization and the effects on the Ioway people past and present. I use personal experience of being a tribal member to discuss how the tribes’ oral history allows for the preservation of Ioway cultural identity and religious traditions.