2006-2007 Academic Year

Winners of 2006 International Undergraduate Research Symposium Announced

The winners of the International Undergraduate Symposium, a 5-C event designed to showcase the array of research topics undergraduate students undertake while studying abroad, have been announced. Raul Garza '07 was awarded first place, Pitzer College; Ryan Patterson '07, Claremont McKenna College, was awarded second place, and Kathryn Conour '07, Pitzer College was awarded third place. The goal of the symposium is to creatively disseminate research findings and inspire first- and second-year students to consider studying abroad.

Raul Garza '07First Place - Raul Garza '07, Pitzer College
Program: Pitzer in Ecuador Intensive Language & Culture, Spring 2006
Research Topic: The Coastal Variety of Spanish in Ecuador: Examining Prejudices and Racism Created through a Regional Dialect
Research Abstract: My research in Ecuador revolved around the Coastal dialect of Spanish in Ecuador, which is typically associated with residents of the Coastal region of Ecuador and also perceived by many as the dialect spoken strictly by Afro-Ecuadorians. I used samples of conversational interviews to create a phonological/phonetic chart mapping out the sound structures of this dialect of Spanish. I then used these recordings to ask Quiteñan Women from the Highland region of Ecuador about their own perceptions of speakers of the Coastal dialect and of Afro-Ecuadorians. This project centered on perceptions of racism against the Afro-Ecuadorian community, a small minority making up approximately 10% of the population of Ecuador. The results showed how a regional dialect can be mistaken for an ethnic variety, rather than a non-standard dialect that is spoken in a region, and the amount of prejudices that exists in the perceptions of Afro Ecuadorians.

Ryan Patterson '07 CMCSecond Place - Ryan Patterson '07, Claremont McKenna College
Program: SIT, Morocco, Spring 2006
Research Topic: Democracy in Morocco: The Challenge of Corruption
Research Abstract: The purpose of this research is to examine the causes of corruption in Morocco and its possible effects on political development. Findings are based on interviews with elected and appointed government officials at the local, regional, and national levels, directors and staffs of Moroccan, foreign, and international nongovernmental organizations, Moroccan citizens and foreign residents, and a survey of Mohammad V University students. These findings suggest that corruption has a negative effect on electoral participation and perceptions of political efficacy. Furthermore, they suggest a correlation between perceptions of corruption at the local and national levels.

Kathryn Conour '07Third Place - Kathryn Conour '07, Pitzer College
Program: Pitzer in Ecuador Intensive Language & Culture, Spring 2006
Research Topic: Muchacha, Levántate: Marginalized Women and Capacity Building Shelters in Quito, Ecuador
Research Abstract: Ecuador has a group of women who have been socially stigmatized and economically marginalized by society. The purpose of my investigation was to explore the social service support for this at-risk population as exhibited through two capacity building shelters: Remar International and Talita Cumi. My research focused on an exploration of the foundations’ methodology, ideology, and program implementation. I found that both foundations’ inextricable religious ties often proved debilitating. Both lacked in monetary and human resources, as well as the ideological and methodological foundations for auto-evaluation and mission development. The lack of institutional transparency and governmental monitoring resulted in the institutional perpetuation of marginality and societal isolation, as well as the exploitation of the very population that the foundations intend to serve.