Scripps Students Receive Johnson Research Awards

Five Scripps students received Stanley and Mary Johnson Research Awards to conduct projects during the summer of 2008. Clio Korn ’10, Jenna Leahy ’10, Emily Luttrull ’10, Sarah Pripas ’09, and Duyen Tran ’10 will present their findings at a campus-wide event in the fall.

Korn’s project will involve a study of how cultural differences affect the transmission of knowledge. By working with a counselor training program in Mbarra, Uganda, she will investigate how efforts to be sensitive to Ugandan culture affect the teaching of Western psychology and neuroscience. In the process of conducting her research, she hopes to help the counseling students with their studies.

Leahy’s research will examine how religion empowers women in third-world countries, specifically the relationship between activism and Catholicism. She plans to explore gender restrictions within society through case studies, observing the power women can yield in their communities through religious means. She will study groups of women in two different convents, the first in La Morita Mission in Tijuana, Mexico. Her research will continue in Dakar, Senegal, where she will study during the fall 2008 semester.

Leahy plans to share the results of her study with the Humanities Institute, the Gender and Women’s studies department, the religious studies department, and the Politics and International Relations department at Scripps. “The project will yield innovative, unique, and informative research and will allow me to gain a real-life perspective in a growing intellectual field,” she said.

Tran’s study will also take her abroad: she will explore the ways in which youth HIV/AIDS prevention programs are successful in Vietnam by investigating the behavioral changes of the program’s participants. Tran says that Vietnamese people living with HIV/AIDS face a range of discrimination in their society because the dissemination of information about the diseases targets at-risk populations rather than at-risk behaviors. Tran hopes to achieve a better understanding of how government preventative initiatives address stigma and discrimination in its agenda to prevent, treat, and educate the public about the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Luttrull’s research will keep her close to Claremont. Her project will focus on the gradual decline of the city of Pomona’s economy and how grassroots organizing can be used as a powerful tool to enable and equip its citizens to reverse the process. Through her study of nonprofit organizations within the city, she hopes to understand the economic, racial, religious, and historical components of community organizations. She plans on employing the results of her research to contribute long-term to the organizing effects taking place in Pomona.

Pripas’ work will focus on autism spectrum disorders, specifically infantile autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. She will examine how the perception of autism has changed over time, studying the disorder from both historical and sociological perspectives. She also hopes to examine the history of autism before the existence of that diagnosis. “With autism diagnoses becoming more prevalent in the United States and elsewhere, social inquiry into this term is sorely needed,” she said. “It is my hope that this project will illuminate our understanding of the ambiguous line between ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ people and behavior.”