Anselmo, Melanie

Senior, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Major: Japanese Studies

Thesis Director: Kerry Ross, Department of History

Faculty Advisor: Heather Bowen-Struyk, Department of Modern Languages

Bio: 2020 Graduate of the Japanese Studies program, member of the Japanese Language Table, and studied abroad in Japan in 2019 Fall. Her interest in Japan goes back to her middle schooldays, but it was throughout her college career that she became more interested in studying all aspects of Japan. It was through her classes at DePaul that she could come across the information that she used to form her thesis. Her love of history, literature, and gender studies led her to her thesis topic.

Abstract: The academic discourse surrounding male-male homosexual relationships in literature from the 1600’s is exemplified by The Great Mirror of Male Love by Saikaku Ihara. In the modern era ofJapan, the misogyny and hegemonic ideas of masculinity that are prevalent in Yukio Mishima’s seminal works on the subject, Confessions of a Mask and Forbidden Colors, fail to challenge Japan’s history of the tropes of “women-hating” and “predatory” gay men. In this thesis, Melanie will not only contextualize these tropes, but also identify their premodern roots as they pertain to pernicious and untrue stereotypes that plague Japan’s sexual minority community today.


Atanasova, Deyana

Senior, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Major: Economics

Minor: Professional Writing

Thesis Director: Laura J. Owen, Department of Economics

Faculty Reader: Martha Martinez-Firestone, Department of Sociology

Bio: During her (almost) 3 years before graduating from DePaul, Deyana worked as a peer writing tutor at the University Center for Writing-based Learning and as an institutional ethnography research assistant alongside Dr. Workman, Dr. Vandenberg, and Maddy Crozier. She also wrote for and/or worked on several publications at DePaul, including Honorable Mentions, Crook & Folly, Mille-Feuille, and Creating Knowledge. Her passion for interdisciplinarity and social justice fueled her research, and she hopes to keep writing as a lifelong learner in her professional life.

Abstract: This thesis explores blurring lines between economic and social capital by constructing a quantitative and qualitative case study of tweets from the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement. As a “vehicle” site of study, Venmo’s social features may deem it a useful tool in supporting sociopolitical and economic movements by way of economic and social exchange, drawing connections between affinity spaces and blending economic and social capital. Through an NVivo analysis of 92 tweets containing the search terms “Venmo” and “#BlackLivesMatter,” 10affinity spaces were identified which exemplified social capital as a central focus alongside the exchange of economic capital.


Bechtel, Harper

Freshman, College of Computing and Digital Media

Major: Film and Television

Honors Course: HON 100: Rhetoric and Critical Inquiry

Faculty: Michael Raleigh, Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse

Abstract: Japanese comics, known as manga, and its television medium, anime, began in WWII with the introduction of American comic books. Anime and manga have multiple subgenres that focus on non-traditional gender roles and sexuality such as mahō shōjo (Magical Girl) and shōnen-ai (Boy’s love). Moreover, the evolution of queer characters in mainstream action anime has increased. Cosplay is also a popular way for fans to express and explore unconventional gender norms. This paper examines how all these elements, along with social media, have affected and will continue to affect Japanese and American culture.


Bednarek, Mariana

Senior, College of Science and Health

Major: Psychology

Thesis Director: Ida Salusky, Department of Psychology

Faculty Reader: Michele Morgan, Department of Psychology

Bio: Mariana is graduating with a BA in Psychology concentrating in Human Services. She will continue at DePaul to pursue an MA in general psychology in preparation for a PhD in Clinical Psychology. She has been in many psychology research labs, and is currently working in Dr. Ida Salusky’s REAL Lab. She is interested in researching mental health among marginalized populations, particularly Latinx immigrants, as she is a Latinx immigrant-origin college student herself.

Abstract: COVID-19 has negatively impacted the mental health of many college students. However, this effect may be even worse for Latinx immigrant-origin college students compared to other populations. This longitudinal, qualitative study aimed to (1) compare the mental health of (N=6) Latinx immigrant-origin college students before and after the onset of COVID-19 and (2) identify factors influencing psychological distress among this sample using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Findings suggest that various external stressors (i.e., academic, financial, work, and medical stress), the avoidance of these stressors, and barriers to mental health help-seeking frequently exacerbate psychological distress pre-and post-COVID-19.


Bennet, Elijah

Sophomore, College of Computing and Digital Media

Major: Film and Television Production

Minor: Sociology

Honors Course: HON 201: States, Markets, and Societies

Faculty: Martha Martinez-Firestone, Department of Sociology

Abstract: Combining U.S. census data with statistics on disability representation in American film, Elijah was able to determine the vast percentage margins between the number of characters with intellectual/developmental/physical disabilities and able-bodied/neurotypical characters in comparison to their actual population percentages. Furthermore, through analysis of linguistic alterations, models of disability, and the development of disability portrayals over the past ~70 years, he was able to identify the progress in inclusivity that has been made. At the same time, though, he was also able to conclude that while perceptions towards historically marginalized groups have been improving, the disabled community continues to remain “invisible”.


Brewington, Brad

Senior, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Major: Philosophy

Minor: Sound Design

Thesis Director: Avery Goldman, Department of Philosophy

Faculty Advisor: William McNeill, Department of Philosophy

Bio: Brad is a senior Philosophy major with a minor in Sound Design, interested in Kant, Aesthetics and Critical Theory. When not reading philosophy or working on film projects he plays American primitivist folk guitar.

Abstract: Martin Heidegger’s 1929 interpretation of Kant in the book Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics is known for its supposed interpretive violence. One important aspect emphasized by both Heidegger and Kant is the role of human transcendence in experience; that our spontaneous faculties, for Kant— and our pre-conceptual understanding of Being, for Heidegger— always go ahead of our engagements with the world, to first delimit the region within which those engagements take place. In this way experience, as conceived by both thinkers, itself takes on an interpretive character. In this essay I examine the differences between this anticipating of experience in the thought of Kant and Heidegger, paying particular attention to the way they define the terms “Possibility” [Möglichkeit] and “Reality” [Realität] relative to the structure of this anticipating and their conception of subjectivity and what the differing nature of this anticipating of experience reveals about the aims, objects, and interpretive possibilities of their respective philosophies.


Cherian, Zach

Sophomore, College of Science and Health

Major: Health Sciences (Concentration in Bioscience)

Minors: Applied Psychology, Bioethics and Society

Certificate: Global Fluency

Honors Course: HON 201: States, Markets, and Societies

Faculty: William Denton, Department of Political Science

Abstract: In his paper “To Be or Not To Be? Neutrality is the Question”, Zach investigates the inception, significance, controversy, and history of the largest humanitarian medical organization in the world: Doctors w/o Borders, or more globally known as MSF. Beginning his process with their history, the project provides a very detailed exploration of the entire journey of MSF, from its humble beginnings as a grassroots community to the center stage of the world’s NGOs. As an organization which serves countless peoples, groups, and cultures around the world, MSF has been at the forefront of horrific wars, crimes against humanity, famine, environmental disaster, and much more. Despite their great contributions, the ever-globalizing world has placed MSF in the bullseye of controversy, a matter which has threatened MSF’s core strengths: independence, freedom, and neutrality. It is Zach’s great fear that MSF and organizations like it are being forcibly withdrawn from their policy of neutrality; a move which would claim the death of humanitarianism as we know it. In this paper, he reaches the conclusion that MSF is utterly critical for unbiased, untethered protection from the world’s crises. Organizations with such outreach, actionable neutrality, and ability to push through the most demanding of struggles, merit immense support from the world, and even deserve chartership as an independent beneficiary of the United Nations.


Constante, Ezra

Junior, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Major: American Studies (Concentration in Social and Literary Movements)

Minors: LGBTQ Studies, History

Honors Course: HON 201: States, Markets, and Societies

Faculty: Martha Martinez-Firestone, Department of Sociology

Abstract: Ezra relies on the United States Transgender Survey in addition to qualitative data, case studies, and anecdotal experiences to conduct his research. He emphasizes how transgender Americans experience a lack of access to healthcare across boundaries such as type of insurance, not having insurance, fears of mistreatment and discrimination which lead to healthcare avoidance, and confidentiality issues between transgender youths and their parents and guardians when seeking out forms of preventable healthcare, including but not limited to sexual health and cancers. He then discusses the consequences of not obtaining proper healthcare before providing solutions and suggestions to alleviate this problem.


Cueto, Isabel

Senior, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Majors: Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse, Spanish

Thesis Director: Jason Schneider, Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse

Faculty Reader: Carolina Barrera-Tobón, Department of Modern Languages

Bio: Isabel is a senior at DePaul University double majoring in Writing, Rhetoric, and Discourse and Spanish. She is also a peer writing tutor at the writing center where she works with the Collaborative for Multilingual Writing and Research and a Spanish tutor in the modern languages department. Her scholarly interests include rhetoric, language acquisition theory and pedagogy, language ideology and power, and education. After graduating this spring, Isabel hopes to move to Spain to teach English in the fall.

Abstract: Multilingualism and language education are becoming increasingly attractive to monolingual native English speaking families because of the recursive value of language in a globalized world and job market. This leads to implications for language planning and policy within school systems and requires special attention to neighborhood schools in immigrant communities and communities with heritage speakers of non-English languages. This project explores the allocation of dual language programs in Chicago Public Schools and orientations towards multilingualism through public data, local news reporting, and scholarly research.


DelValle, Priscilla

Freshman, Driehaus College of Business

Major: Accounting and Finance

Honors Course: HON 100: Rhetoric and Critical Inquiry

Faculty: Julie Bokser, Department of Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse

Abstract: The world has entered the beginning of a Demographic Winter, a shift where the population is aging and shrinking at a faster rate when compared to the growth and fertility rate. In other words, a majority of the population is ready to retire rather than join the workforce. This causes several dilemmas for world governments that are accustomed to providing benefits and funds to a smaller population of retirees. Priscilla explores which government policies will be affected by the Demographic Winter. Her research expresses how the future population and governments are ill-prepared to replace the workforce and finance increasing government demands. This event will have many effects, and without government action, we are left vulnerable.