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Sociology

Creating Inclusive Schools for Immigrant Youth, Families, and Communities

Delilah Garcia (2014); Student Collaborator(s): Yesenia Garcia (2015); Mentor(s): Gilda Ochoa

Abstract: This project focuses on the Latino community and offers a variety of ways schools could create inclusive environments for immigrant youth, families, and communities. According to scholars Fry and Gonzalez (2008) 17 percent of Latino public school students are immigrants. In particular, 65,000 thousand undocumented students graduate yearly from U.S high schools (Oliverez, Chavez, Soriano, & Tierney, 2006). Despite these numbers, the topic of undocumented youth in the schooling system tends to be ignored. With help from the community, twelve in-depth interviews were conducted. Students, parents, and educators spoke about their experiences with undocumented and immigrant students. Most of the students focused on the importance of having financial support such as scholarships or grants to pursue higher education. A parent shared the economic barriers she faced as an immigrant and how such barriers made it difficult for her to be involved in her children’s education. Educators also focused on finding financial support for students and expressed their concerns about emotional and social factors involved in educating immigrant students. They emphasized the importance of finding ways to empower both immigrant students and parents, giving them a voice, and providing them with the tools to not give up on achieving a higher quality of life. Overall, having teachers and administrators who are invested in the financial, social, and emotional stability and empowerment of students and parents helps establish a more inclusive environment.
Funding Provided by: Paul K. Richter and Evelyn E. Cook Richter Memorial Fund (DG); Pomona College SURP (YG)

The Nigerian Beauty Pageant Industry

Gervais Marsh (2015); Mentor(s): Oluwakemi Balogun

Abstract: This project examined the Nigerian beauty industry and its links to the development of Nigerian nationalism. Nigerian beauty queens are first and foremost seen as role models in their communities and gain a celebrity status that provides them with the platform to address issues of concern and do social work during their reign. These women are the face of Nigeria, and for those who go onto a global stage through their participation in international contests, they represent the country’s progress and how Nigeria wishes to present herself to other global leaders. As Nigeria develops rapidly, these beauty queens play a key role in the presentation of Nigeria’s national image to the global society. The analysis is drawn from the dominant narratives presented in popular media outlets. Through open-ended coding of newspaper articles, I show how pageant organizers represent beauty contestants' sexuality as "pure." This ‘purity’ is linked to their ability to be recognized as suitable role models in Nigeria. Special attention was also paid to Nigeria’s attempt to host the Miss World pageant 2002 and the riots that ensued as a result of this event. The problems that arose from the staging of this pageant provide an example of Nigeria’s battle to maintain a ‘pure’ and positive image that reflects Nigerian cultural values and rejects Westernization while simultaneously finding her footing in the rapidly globalizing world.
Funding Provided by: Faucett Catalyst Fund

Research at Pomona