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PLAS Senior Thesis Titles

Students fulfill the PLAS certificate requirement in part by writing a thesis in their major discipline on a Latin American or Caribbean topic.

Class of 2015

Elise Rosalie Backman, Woodrow Wilson School
Nosso Norte é o Sul: Brazil’s Membership in Mercosul and Strategies for Institutional Reform

Logan Hall Coleman, Politics
Recontextualizing Las Maras: Policing Failures and the Evolution of Gang Violence in Central America

Celina Pearl Culver, Woodrow Wilson School
U.S. Impact on Democratic Civilian Control in Latin America

Brett Timothy Diehl, History
Between The Old Republic and the New State: Constructing Social Order in Rio de Janeiro, 1930–1937

Joan Fernandez, History
(Un)clear Transmission: Tuning into Miami’s Cuban Community through Radio Martí, 1980-1986

Maeli Ariel Goren, Comparative Literature
The Story of Mamãe: An Original Play Inspired by José de Alencar’s Iracema

Alexandra Lâle Gürel, History
Conflict and Cooperation: The Rockefeller Foundation’s Relationship with the Medical and Nursing Schools of São Paulo, 1916-1944

Tyler Paige Hastie, Woodrow Wilson School
Seeking Success: A Comparative Study of Brazil and South Africa as Regional Powers

Daniel Paul Johnson Jr., Woodrow Wilson School Neutralizing Fractionalization: Are Fiscal Rules The Answer?

Ariana Lieselotte Lazzaroni, Economics
Implementing Sterilized Intervention under an Inflation Targeting Regime: An ARCH Model Approach

Camille Yuying Lin, Woodrow Wilson School
Vaccine Procurement in Developing Countries: A Case Study of the Revolving Fund

Yessica Martinez, Comparative Literature
A Tale of Conquering

Shayla Reid, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures
Mulher como Protagonista: Women’s Experiences with Parto Humanizado

Eleanor F. Roberts, Politics
Unaccompanied Alien Minors from Central America: For Expanding U.S. Immigration Protections

Marcelo Alonso Rochabrun Ore, History
In Search of a Liberal Mandate: The Political Campaign of Mario Vargas Llosa

Rafael Saiz García, Woodrow Wilson School
Lessons in Transitional Justice, Spain: The Dog That Never Barked

Radha Sarkar, Politics
The Rebels’ Resource Curse: A Comparison of the Naxalites in India and the FARC in Colombia

Elizabeth Ann Tolman, Physics
From Huemul to Ad Astra: Plasma Physics in Latin America, and what it shows About the Role of Physics in Countries not Seen as Scientific Powerhouses

Nshira Abena Turkson, Woodrow Wilson School
Litany for the Black City: Ghetto Reform Policy in South Africa, Brazil and the United States 


2015 Stanley J. Stein Senior Thesis Prize

**Rachel Parks, Anthropology
Bolivians in Brazil: The Interface of Culture, Race, and Health in an Immigrant Community of São Paulo

*Misha Semenov, School of Architecture
Playing by the Rules: Examining the Interactions of Rules, Built Form, and Social Behavior in American Residential Communities

*Winners. **Honorable mention.


2015 Kenneth Maxwell Senior Thesis Prize in Brazilian and Portuguese Studies

*Brett Timonty Diehl,
History
Between the Old Republic and the New State: Constructing Social Order in Rio de Janeiro, 1930–1937

*Rachel Parks, Anthropology
Bolivians in Brazil: The Interface of Culture, Race, and Health in an Immigrant Community of São Paulo 

*Winners. **Honorable mention.


Class of 2014

David Abugaber, Independent
Language Shift from Ixil Mayan to Spanish in a Highland Guatemalan Town

Miryam Amsili, History
Nazi-Fascist, Anti-Semite, or Anti-Zionist? The Debates Surrounding Tacuara in Argentina

Alejandro Arroyo Yamin, Archaeology
Masked Exoticism: Fabricating Authentic Experiences in Mexican Beach Resorts

Rachael Baitel, Politics
Rising Through the Ranks: A Comparative Analysis of the Pathways to Power of Current Women Presidents in Latin America

Cecilia Buerkle, Comparative Literature
The Dueling Worlds of the Mexican-American: Reconceptualizing Notions of Home and Identity in The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Madison Bush, History
The Books of Angelópolis: A Study of the Book Culture and Libraries in Puebla de los Ángeles: 1531-1640

Agnes Cho, Anthropology
Commodifying Cookstoves: Social Entrepreneurship and the Improved Cookstove Industry

Luc Cohen, Woodrow Wilson School
Exit, but mostly exclusion: Policy options for reducing the size of Mexico's informal economy

Andrea DeLeon, Economics
Expectation and Utilization: Socioeconomic Determinants of Access to and Attitudes towards Brazilian Health Care

Elizabeth Driggs, Economics
Positive Side Effects: The Interaction between Conditional Cash Transfer Programs and Women's Empowerment in Colombia, 2002-2005

Ryan Elliott, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Triatomines and Trypanosomes: Fitness Impacts of Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma rangeli Mono- and Co-infections in the Triatomine Vector Rhodnius prolixus

Lukas Gaffney, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Assessment of the Influence of Primate Species, Deforestation, and Tree Cover on Malaria Transmission in Latin America

Iara Guzman, Politics
Protracted Conflict in Colombia: How Incentive Structures Shape Negotiations and Their Outcomes

Emily Hill, Woodrow Wilson School
The American Human Rights Convention: Motivations and Efficacy

Damali James, Woodrow Wilson School
Dominican Denationalization: a Discussion of TC0168-13 and Factors of Dominican Immigration Policy

Kelsey D. Janke, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Human land-use and forest regeneration as drivers of bat diversity and activity in the Área de Conservación Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Abril Loya, English
"El Olvido Está Tan Lleno De Memoria": Cultural Memory Salience in Chile and Mexico through Isabel Allende's "The House of the Spirits" and Roberto Bolaño's "Amulet"

Amanda Morgan Mitchell, History
Cuba Aqui and Allá: Between the Boom and Revolution 1959-1971

Arianna Munguia, Politics
More than Just Money: A Case Study on the Effects of Remittances and Immigration in the Salvadoran Towns of Chirilagua, Intipucá and El Cuco

Rebecca Newmark, Anthropology
The Fruit of their Labor: Placentophagia and Embodied Meaning-Making Among American Women

Neelay Patil, Woodrow Wilson School
Neglecting "A New Beginning": Stagnant U.S. - Cuba Relations Under Barack Obama

Minerva H. Pedroza, Anthropology
Lives In Transition Navigating Public Trans Healthcare in São Paulo, Brazil !!

Clayton Taylor Platt, Woodrow Wilson School
Misguided Goals on the International Stage: An Analysis of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and the Economic and Social Implications of Developing Nations Hosting Mega-Events

Brian Reilly, Woodrow Wilson School
Not-So-Covert Action: considering the CIA's paramilitary mission through examples in Central America and Pakistan

Erika Rios, History
Chile's Divided Path to Revolution: An Analysis of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (Mir), 1964-1973

Christian J. Rivera, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Facing the 2013 Gold Rush: A Population Viability Analysis For the Endangered White-lipped Peccary (Tayassu pecari) in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Sloan Rudberg, Woodrow Wilson School
Mind the Gap in São Paulo: An Analysis of Airport Access and Integrated Transportation in Brazil's Federal Infrastructure Policies

Daniel Santillan, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Death from the Labyrinth

Brittany Serafino, Woodrow Wilson School
Storming the Gates: How Gated Communities and the "Mexodus" Have Contributed to Residential Segregation since the Turn of the Century

Steven Server, History
Dos Arbolitos: Cultivating the US-Mexican Border

Peter Smith, Sociology
Where's The Beef? Cultural and Socioeconomic Determinants of Meat Consumption in Brazil

Carrico Torres, Politics
The Emergence of Global Slums:Colonialism and State Policy in Brazil and South Africa

Alejandro Van Zandt-Escobar, Computer Science
Meta-Gesture Variation Following for Sonic Interactions

Lauren Wyman, Economics
Analyzing the impact of a dual lizard introduction on orb-weaving spider communities in the Bahamas: an experimental approach

Gibran Zavalza, Politics
Understanding the Mexican Voter: Major Factors Influencing Voter Choice in the Context of the 2012 Presidential Election 


2014 Stanley J. Stein Senior Thesis Prize

Class of 2014 winner:
Amanda Morgan Mitchell, History
Cuba Aqui and Allá: Between the Boom and Revolution 1959-1971


2014 Kenneth Maxwell Senior Thesis Prize in Brazilian and Portuguese Studies

Class of 2014 winners:
Minerva H. Pedroza, Anthropology
Lives In Transition Navigating Public Trans Healthcare in São Paulo, Brazil

Naomi Zucker, Anthropology
Visions of Health and Care in São Paulo, Brazil


Class of 2013

Alexander Aguayo, Comparative Literature
Coming Apart at the Seams: Unstable Identities in Manuel Puig’s Kiss of the Spider Woman

Monica Ines Beltran, Woodrow Wilson School
Educational Promises and State Failures: A Comparative Study of General Education and Intercultural Bilingual Education Policy in Peru

Osasumwen Benjamin,
Comparative Literature
Transnational Angst: Black Existentialism in Contemporary Afro-Brazilian Narratives

Lauren Ann Castro, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Flight Performance and Trypanosome Infection of the Chagas Disease Vector Rhodnius pallescens: Implications for the Spatio-Temporal Spread of Trypanosoma cruzi in Rural Landscapes

Courtney Allen Crumpler, Anthropology
Cultivating Health in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brandon Scott Davis, Anthropology
Reflections on travels through South America with the Israelitas

Briyana Clarel Davis, Sociology
(Re)defining The Activist Occupation:   Identity, Intersectionality, and LGBT Activism in Salvador da Bahia

Carly Therese De La Hoz*, Architecture
The Favela Typology: Architecture in the Self-Built City

Andrea de Sá, Woodrow Wilson School
Brazil’s Nuclear Submarine Program: Navigating the Uncharted Waters of the Non-Proliferation Treaty

Carrie Allison Diamond, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures
Dentro do Campo the Metaphor of Brazilian Soccer: Race, Space and Language

Ubaldo Escalante, Architecture
Beyond the Golden Period: Alternative Modernities and Contemporary Architecture in Latin America

Ashley Elizabeth Evelyn, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures
The Formation of Transnational Black Identity among African-Descendants in Early Twentieth Century Cuba

Angelica Marie Ferrandino, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures
Grains of Race in Cartagena de Indias: A Study of Cuisine and Power in Cartagena, Colombia

Aseneth Garza, Anthropology
Politics of Memory in Post-War Guatemala: Church and State Accounts of Civil War

Thomas Peixoto Irby, History
The Carter-Geisel Conflict: Conflicting Narratives Regarding Human Rights and Perceptions of Military Rule in Brazil (1974-1979)

Amy Marie Olivero, Woodrow Wilson School
Targetting the Supply, not the Demand:Inconsistencies in U.S. Immigration Enforcement

Dimitris Papaconstantinou, Philosophy
Facts and Fallibility. Institutionalizing a Fallibilist Public Sphere.

Daniela del Rocio Perea, Politics
Politics of Giving: Explaining Divergent Tax Policies in Mexico and the United States

Sofia Agustina Quinodoz, Molecular Biology
Photography & Memory: How Argentina Remembers the Dirty War†

Luis Alejandro Ramos, Politics
Educating Chile: A Forensic Investigation of the ongoing Chilean Student Movement

Grecia Abigail Rivas, Comparative Literature
From the Page to the Screen: An In-Depth Analysis of Representations of Race in Fernando Meirelles’ “City Of God”

Erika Loren Smith, Chemistry
Unveiling the Mysteries of Maya Color: Characterization of Late Classic Maya Ceramic Vessel Pigments

Kaya Leigh Ten-Pow, Woodrow Wilson School
Are we fighting the Wrong War?   Cocaine Consumption in Latin America and the Global Drug Policy Paradigm

Flora Carpenter Thomson-DeVeaux, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures
Sex, Death, and the Aristocracy:* The Universal History of Santiago Badariotti Merlo (*Although Not Necessarily in That Order)

Emily Ann VanderLinden, Politics
Using an Educational Frame to Compare Centralization in Chile and Cuba

Erick Walsh
, Economics
Financial Dollarization and Financial (In) Stability: Evidence from Latin America

James Bailey Williams, Politics
Security Cooperation in the Americas: Explaining the Institutionalization of the Inter-American Security Regime


2013 Kenneth Maxwell Senior Thesis Prize in Brazilian and Portuguese Studies

Class of 2013 winner:
Carly Therese De La Hoz*, Architecture
The Favela Typology: Architecture in the Self-Built City

Honorable Mention:

Andrea de Sá, Woodrow Wilson School
Brazil’s Nuclear Submarine Program: Navigating the Uncharted Waters of the Non-Proliferation Treaty

Thomas Peixoto Irby, History
The Carter-Geisel Conflict: Conflicting Narratives Regarding Human Rights and Perceptions of Military Rule in Brazil (1974-1979)


2013 Stanley J. Stein Senior Thesis Prize

Class of 2013 winner:
Flora Carpenter Thomson-DeVeaux, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures
Sex, Death, and the Aristocracy:* The Universal History of Santiago Badariotti Merlo (*Although Not Necessarily in That Order)

*Certificate in Latin American Studies, Brazilian Track
Major research paper in addition to departmental thesis, to fulfill the writing requirement for PLAS


Class of 2012

Katherine Alvarez, Sociology
Constructing Social Change: A Study of Medellin’s Social Urbanism

Stephanie Marie Alvarez, Politics
Innovation and success: Medellin system for the provision of services to the displaced population

Luciana Femanda Chamorro Elizondo, Anthropology
Narrating the Nicaraguan Civil War: An Ethnographic Account of Re-membering in San Juan del Norte

Mayenne Gael Chess, English
Like So Many Views Seen Through Bright Glass: The train as a modernist symbol in texts by Ford, Lawrence and Cortázar

Sophia Marie D’Angelo, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures
Inter-Caribbean Relations and the Afro-Caribbean Diaspora: Race and Nationalism in Haitian, Dominican and Puerto Rican Popular Culture

Addie Marie Darling, Comparative Literature
Veritas in Nihilum: An Investigation of the Poetry of Roy Campbell, Octavio Paz & Juan de la Cruz

Aparajita Das, Economics
Tudo Monitorado: The Impacts of Military Pacification on Crime Rates in Rio de Janeiro

María José Dobles Madrigal, Woodrow Wilson School
Violence and Drug Trafficking in Central America: "The Ghosts of Institutions Past, Present and Future."

Brianna Nicole Eastridge, Anthropology
Dime con quién andas y te diré quién eres: the Development of Mexican-Americans as a New Social Class in the United States

Adriana Maria Estor, Politics
The Question of Project Lending: A Comparative Analysis of the Effectiveness of the World Bank in Latin America

María Julia Gutiérrez, Woodrow Wilson School
Devising Regional Solutions: An Analysis of Violence Trends in Northern Mexico, 1997-2010

Laura Elizabeth Hamm, Anthropology
Mapuche Resurging: the Reappropriation of Indigenous struggle in the Chilean Nation

Ricardo López, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures
Narcotraduccíon: Reacciones y lecciones del lenguaje ante la “Mexican Drug War”

Leo Daniel Mena, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Creating Connection: Live Fence Structure and its Role in Sustaining Avifauna Diversity in Panama

Martha Melissa Montoya, Sociology
Escondido Transformed: How the Highly Visible Latino Population Becomes Invisible

Stephanie Morales, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures
Projeto Orla 2005: The Barraqueiros’ Lack of an Agenda and the Imbalance of Power Which Led to The Demolishment of the Barracas

J. David Peña, Politics
Racist Violence and Immigration in Spain: impact on the Latin American, North African and Eastern European Immigrant Groups

Niurka Grissel Peralta Malena, Sociology
The Color of Money: Trade, Gender and Nationality in a Dominican Market

Hannah Rose Sanzetenea, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures
‘El tiempo vuela’: La vida, la muerte, y el tiempo en un libro infantil ilustrado original

Andréa Gabriella Schiller, Politics
Somebody Save Us: The Role of the Federal Government in Bailouts

Natalie Helen Shoup, Operations Research and Financial Engineering
Sustainable Energy Economics: Optimizing the Integration of Renewables in Guatemala

Lindsay Marie von Clemm, Economics
A Macro Stress Testing Framework of Liquidity Risk in the Latin American Banking Sector

Tiffania Lissette Willetts, Economics
The True Cost of an Education: Income's Effect on Educational Attainment in Buenos Aires, 1980-2006

Erica Meyer Zendell, Comparative Literature
Bread, Circuses, and Steel: Mega-Sporting Events, National Image, and Modernization in China and Brazil (Beijing 2008, Brazil 2014, and Rio 2016)


2012 Stanley J. Stein Senior Thesis Prize

Class of 2012 winner:

Luciana Fernanda Chamorro Elizondo, Anthropology
Narrating the Nicaraguan Civil War: An Ethnographic Account of Re-membering in San Juan del Norte


2012 Kenneth Maxwell Senior Thesis Prize in Brazilian and Portuguese Studies

Class of 2012 winner:

Sojung Yi, Anthropology
UNCHARTED: Territorialization of Health Care and the Travails of the Urban Poor in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil