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HSBC 2013 Cohort


    The HSBC Fellows Program supports a cohort of 13 first-generation and/or underrepresented students to participate in our undergraduate research programs. The demand of these research programs is high, as undergraduate research is increasingly becoming a practice that defines a USC Dornsife education. The program encourages students to pair up with a Dornsife faculty member, in the social sciences, to become agents of change in their communities.



    Whether it is trying to solve the economics of the local employment situation, address environmental problems, or improve educational opportunities for low-income children, conducting social science research using methodological skills provides meaningful training opportunity for students who come from non-traditional family backgrounds and circumstances. The HSBC Fellows, therefore, will participate in a skill-building exercise as they conduct undergraduate research that will translate well to classroom experiences, and ultimately to the job market. 


    The HSBC Fellows program offers students financial assistance to facilitate fellows’ development as social science researchers. During their tenure as fellows, students will receive the following funds:

  • $1,000 during the Spring semester
  • $3,000 during the summer to fund their social science research project (Summer funds can be used domestically or towards overseas/study abroad research.)


    In addition to financial assistance, the program offers fellows the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research. As fellows conduct research they gain special benefits, including:

  • The space to develop a one-on-one mentoring relationship with USC Dornsife faculty;
  • The time to help clarify their academic and career interests and goals;
  • The ability to enhance their critical skills in communication, independent thinking, creativity and problem-solving;
  • The capacity to engage in the creation of new knowledge, which can be applied towards real-world social, economic and environmental problems in their community.



    In order for students to participate in the HSBC Fellows program, they must be able to meet all of the following requirements:

  1. First-generation and/or underrepresented minority.
  2. Declared/Prospective Major in Dornsife College. Though not required, preference will be given to students in the social sciences.
  3. USC GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  4. Dornsife faculty mentor willing to support and guide the fellow’s project.


    During the spring semester, fellows will be integrated into our Student Opportunities for Academic Research (SOAR) Program, where they will be a research assistant in a faculty member’s project, or be granted the choice to purse their own scholarly research project. Students will be introduced to the process of scholarly inquiry, including, but not limited to: 

  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Survey Research
  • Ethnographic Inquiry


    HSBC Fellows will also be required to participate in our Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF) and conduct on-site field research activities to collect data and develop a hypothesis on how to address their real-world problem. Fellows can carry out this work domestically or internationally.


    HSBC Fellows have to attend regular meetings and career/academic development programs.   


    After performing their summer research, fellows will return to campus during the fall semester and present their work during a poster exhibition and reception, to HSBC executives, USC Dornsife deans, faculty members, and other HSBC Fellows.


Faculty Mentorship

    Students selected as HSBC Fellows will work with Dornsife College faculty mentors who will serve as role models and research advisors. Under the mentor’s guidance, the fellow will be encouraged to develop a project that engages the fellow’s intellectual curiosity, while fostering his/her academic research skills to solve real-world problems. 


    To apply, submit the following materials to the HSBC Fellows Program, at the Dornsife Dean’s Office (ADM 304):

  1. A cover sheet with the student’s name, address(es) (campus, permanent), phone, declared or prospective major, names of reference writers, and his/her STAR Report.
  2. One letter of recommendation.
  3. A research proposal that includes the following:
    • The community problem your research attempts to address.
    • Your academic interests, and the disciplinary approach (i.e. sociological, anthropological, gender studies framework, etc.) you plan to utilize as you conduct your research.
    • The research skills you hope to gain as you conduct your investigation.
  4. A personal interview will be required.



Karen Arcos - Junior, Psychology

Faculty Mentor: Stephen Lopez

Understanding Acculturation and Socialization's Effects on Mexican-origin patients with Schizophrenia and their Family

Karen Arcos is a rising junior, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Spanish.  As an HSBC fellow, she currently researches the impact of acculturation and socialization on Mexican-Americans with Schizophrenia and their families.  She transcribes audio-recorded interviews in English and Spanish, reviews relevant literature, and analyzes data.  Because this population is under-researched, new insights gathered through this research can potentially provide treatment options designed specifically for this minority group.  Through transcribing, she has honed her listening skills as she must pay close attention to and note details such as pauses and interjections, which will come in useful when assisting potential clients in my future career as a psychologist.  As a bilingual English and Spanish speaker, she practiced and refined her reading and writing abilities in Spanish, as she transcribed interviews conducted in Spanish.  Most importantly, she really valued the role that families play in their ill relatives' lives, which Karen can definitely relate to as someone who is totally blind.  This research reaffirms her pride in her Latino heritage.

Anneleise Azua - Senior, Communication, Gender Studies

Faculty Mentor: George Sanchez

Curanderismo in South Texas

Anneleise Azua was born and raised in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and she has a strong interest in History and American Studies and the cultural significance of gender, race, and class. As an entering senior double majoring in Communication and Gender Studies, her interests have allowed her to conduct independent research on racial issues in the second-wave feminist movement and civil rights movements in South Texas. She is a McNair Scholar, HSBC Fellow, and Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow. Her main focus for her 2013 HSBC research project has been exploring issues of folklore, healing, and gender in the traditional healing practice of curanderismo in South Texas. Throughout her project, she compares these beliefs and perspectives with her interviews and conversations in Taiwan, where she delved into the cultural meaning of traditional Chinese healing practices and beliefs. She is currently working on compiling interviews on Mexican and Chinese alternative healing practices and perceptions and beliefs toward such practices in local areas. Her work has helped her gain a deeper understanding of health care in Mexican-American and Taiwanese communities, shed light on different perspectives within her community, and has ultimately allowed her to gain valuable experiences and connections to prepare her for graduate school. 

Gustavo Carvalho - Junior, Biological Sciences

Faculty Mentor: Katrina Edwards

Environmental Microbiology and Chemical Monitoring:  Laboratory-Based Applications of Flow-Through Osmotic Colonization Systems

Gustavo Erick Carvalho,while working in Dr. Katrina Edwards’ geo-microbiology group, has gained invaluable hands-onexperience ranging from molecular and microbiology lab techniques to using particle accelerator technology for chemical analyses. Even more importantly, the one-on-one time with the researchers in the field has made him more proficient in independent analysis, interpretation of results, and further questioning–skills integral to the scientific process. The most recent study in which he has been collaborating involves identifying novel fungal communities inhabiting deep ocean sediments recovered from the center of the South Pacific Gyre, a nutrient-deprived area regarded as the Earth’s largest oceanic desert. This project is particularly exciting because it turns what was thought as a lifeless underwater plain into a wealth of potential for novel fungi for antibiotic development downstream, and undiscovered species that push our knowledge about the limits of life. The unique experience he has amounted not only makes him a more marketable candidate for a job in the field and a graduate education, this experience also gives him the opportunity to be part of scientific discovery as it actually happens. That is something you cannot get in a classroom.

Mushfiqur Chowdhury - Junior, International Relations/Middle East Studies

Faculty Mentor: Varun Soni 

Emergences of Autonomy: Bangladesh and Kurdistan

Mushfiqur Chowdhury is a junior double majoring in International Relations and Middle East Studies. He currently serves as the External Vice-President of the Muslim Student Union and had co-chaired the 1200 attendee Muslim Student Associations of the West three-day conference. He has been fortunate enough to have been sponsored and paid to travel abroad to Turkey and Israel to explore popular discourse, the importance of NGOs, teach English, and bring back cultural understanding. His career pursuits are that of foreign policy and hopes to work in conflict resolution and peace negotiation. He used the HSBC Fellow grant to do research on the partition of the India in 1947 while focusing on its effect on the Bengal border, effectively leading to the independence and creation of current day country, Bangladesh. Furthermore, he was able to go abroad to Northern Iraq and examine Kurdistan’s semi-autonomous status, something unique to International Relations.

Tandia Elijio - Senior, Anthropology

Faculty Mentor: Lanita Jacobs

(Re)Imagining “Home”: How Study Abroad and Volunteerism Influence Black College Students Sense of Self and Communitas 

Tandia Elijio is currently a senior at the University of Southern California pursuing a B.A. in Anthropology with minors in Consumer Behavior and Law and Public Policy. As a member of the HSBC Fellows Program, she conducted a research project entitled (Re)Imagining “Home”: How Study Abroad and Volunteerism Influence Black College Students Sense of Self and Communitas. With the assistance of Anthropology professor Lanita Jacobs, Tandia explored how African, Afro-Caribbean and African American students at USC who study abroad and/or participate in local or extra-local volunteerism define their sense of “home” as it relates to their identity and their educational experiences at USC. Students were asked to consider the implications of their participation in study abroad and service programs for their intellectual and professional development and philanthropic aptitude. Through this research project, Tandia sought to distill whether various aspects of “Blackness” serve to shape their notions of “home”, “kinship”, and collective responsibility while studying or providing service outside of USC’s immediate borders.  Tandia is actively involved throughout USC and the surrounding community through a number of extracurricular activities and community service. She hopes to increase students’ awareness about the importance of higher education and to assist them in their journey. She believes her participation in the program will aid her in her efforts to pursue a career in student affairs. 

Rachel Jones - Junior, Archaeology

Discovery at El Zotz

Rachel Jones isa junior majoring in Archaeology and Political Science at USC Dornsife. Her work as an HSBC fellow has focused on Archaeology research in Mesoamerica. Mesoamerican archaeology deals with an ancient civilization called the Maya (2012 superstition anyone?) who lived primarily in what is now Guatemala, Belize, some parts of Mexico, the Honduras and El Salvador. This summer she was a research assistant to my professor Thomas Garrison, who directs an archaeological site called El Zotz which is located in the Guatemalan jungle of the Petén. She spent four weeks living in jungle with other archaeologists to do excavation, recording old tunnels and architectural masks. She, then, spent time in the colonial city of Antigua to do lab work and detail ceramics found during the project excavation. This experience was funded by HSBC, and was invaluable in helping her become a better archaeologist. Unlike other college students in her field, she did not have the opportunity to go to a field school. This fellowship offered her the ability to participate in an actual dig and help professors and Ph.d students. Beyond the real world archaeology skills, she got to do research that will help prepare me for an academic career in archaeology and the rigorous work of graduate school. She also got to have an experience of a lifetime. She would love to thank HSBC for all their support- it has definitely had an impact!

Katrina Kaiser - Senior, Economics

Faculty Mentor: Jeff Nugent 

Egypt’s Qualifying Industrial Zones: Trade Changes After the Egyptian Revolutions

Katrina Kaiser is a recent graduate studying Economics with a minor in Communications Law and Media Policy. For her project, she is continuing USC Economics Professor Jeffrey Nugent's previous research on the Qualifying Industrial Zone Protocol, a conditional free-trade policy between Jordan and Egypt, Israel, and the United States. In particular, this research is investigating changes in the protocol and new effects on the Egyptian economy since that country's government transitions in during the 2011 Arab Spring. She will be continuing this research through the fall while staying on at USC as a graduate student. 

Eduardo Mollinedo-Pinon - Junior, Comparative Literature

Faculty Mentor: Roberto Diaz

Re-Rite: Re-Imagining the Use of Video Technology in Orchestral Music

Eduardo Mollinedo-Pinon is currently a junior at the University of Southern California studying Comparative Literature. He is a native Los Angelino who grew up in Watts and went to high school at Foshay Learning Center a few blocks away from the USC University Campus. He has had the opportunity to perform at the Hollywood Bowl and Walt Disney Concert. He is working with Professor Roberto Ignacio Diaz in the Comparative Literature and Spanish Department to research the use of video-technology in orchestral and operatic settings. 

Roxana Ontiveros - Junior, Political Science, Chican@ Studies

Faculty Mentor: George Sanchez

Boyle Heights: Exploring the Past, Constructing the Future 

Roxana Ontiveros is a junior from Highland Park studying Political Science and American Studies & Ethnicity (Chicano/Latino Studies).  She recently completed an internship with the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics in Washington D.C. Currently, she is conducting research on Boyle Heights history alongside Dr. George Sanchez.  Her research focuses on the creation of History in a Box for elementary school students in Boyle Heights.  This box, full of tangible items, will highlight the rich Jewish history of Boyle Heights.  This project has allowed her to strengthen her analytical skills and her problem solving skills. Searching for significant documents to no end has also reinforced the need for patience, as well as persistence, while conducting research.  These skills will be essential to her academic and professional development as she plans for a career as a lawyer, and a researcher.  By creating History in a Box, Roxana hopes to establish a strong connection between Boyle Heights' past and its bright future.

Shawn Rhodes - Junior, Physics, Psychology

Faculty Mentor: Edward Rhodes

Temporal Changes in Solar Pressure Oscillations 

Shawn Rhoads is a junior pursuing a double major in Physics and Psychology. As an HSBC Fellow, he is currently working with Dr. Edward Rhodes in the Department of Physics and Astronomy – more specifically within the field of Helioseismology. The research project is a study of the sensitivity of solar pressure oscillations to other variables of solar activity. Through observations and hands on experience, he has been able to develop analytic skills as a researcher and come to gain insight regarding the different approaches physicists must take to infer data.  He has also been able to recognize the responsibilities that come with accessing large databases. Upon completing his undergraduate career, he plans to begin a doctorate program pursuing his dream to advance the Physics community.

Deborah Rumbo - Senior, Political Science

Faculty Mentor: Alison Renteln

CEDAW: Safeguarding Women’s Rights on a Global Scale

Debbie Rumbo is a senior currently doing her last and final semester abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. Her research project centers on an international law convention, named CEDAW, which attempts to safeguard the protection against all forms of discrimination against women. Her case study compares and contrasts women’s rights issues in India and South Africa, in an attempt to address the pitfalls and successes of the convention and bring women’s rights issues to the forefront. She plans on pursuing a dual degree in the upcoming year with a Ph.D in Ethnic Studies and a J.D. (law degree). Being a fellow has allowed her to use her passion for travel and her interest in international law to undergo this adventure across the world. Her first time in Africa has been made all the better by doing a project she truly connected with and having the support of her mentors and peers in HSBC. She learned the value of developing meaningful relationships with her professors and networking thanks in large part to HSBC. Next stop, Brazil.

Natalie Santizo - Senior, Sociology, Psychology

Faculty Mentor: George Sanchez

Decoding the Past, Present, and Future of Boyle Heights 

Natalie Santizo is a B.A candidate in Sociology and Psychology and a Research Assistant for Dr. George Sanchez, the Vice Dean for Diversity and Strategic Initiatives at USC. As a fellow, Natalie currently works on a project titled History in a Box. This project is currently developing lesson plans centered in the rich Jewish history of Boyle Heights that meet the California history standard. This innovative program allows elementary school students learn about California through a different perspective by using their own community as a tool of exploration. These lesson plans will explore the Jewish history of Boyle Heights while bridging different cultures together. She is currently investigating artifacts to incorporate into the box as part of the interactive component of the project. Throughout the summer, Natalie conducted research at the Southern California Library as well as the Stanford archives to discover unique and important items to include in the box. Natalie aspires to become a college professor, and this fellowship has helped her develop and strengthen research skills, specifically in the use of archives and literature. On a macro level, Natalie is dedicated to exploring the benefits of multiracialism and hopes to facilitate this interaction in other communities one day.

Melvin Earl Villaver, Jr. - Junior, Sociology

Faculty Mentors: Jody Vallejo & Shana L. Redmond 

Music and Community: Youth and Hip Hop in Los Angeles

Melvin Earl Villaver, Jr. was, at the beginning of summer, assisting Dr. Jody Vallejo while she documented the rise of the Latino elite in Los Angeles. The focus of his research pertained to middle and upper class Latino entrepreneurs, and more specifically, the rise of Latino-owned banks in Los Angeles. The community-banking trend is an indicator of the steps that varying cultural and ethnic groups are taking towards assimilating into American culture. 

Towards the end of summer, he began working with Dr. Shana L. Redmond, intersecting the fields of music and the social sciences. As a Filipino-American hip-hop artist who grew up in the greater Los Angeles area, he has worked with Dr. Redmond to analyze the content of Black music in connection to Black migration, Filipino immigration, Los Angeles neighborhood formation and public school systems, and the history of the hip-hop generation. This research will help him produce a feature length documentary that will shed light on the underground Los Angeles hip-hop community. He wishes also to pay homage to the overabundance of talented Filipino Hip-Hop artists that have affected music culture in Los Angeles and the world in dynamic ways. 

With both professors, he has used scholarly databases to find appropriate historical and sociological content pertaining to each unique research topic. Furthermore, he has written essays, documentary treatments, literature reviews, and “Key Identifier” lists of important people working on the ground level that I may wish to interview. He has also compiled imagery, musical pieces, newspaper articles, and a plethora of other pertinent documents that will assist me in the completion of my documentary concept.

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