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"I read to lose myself and find myself at the same time." - Imani Mosley

English Majors Conduct Original Research with UROC-H and Honors Program

March 24, 2020
Cathryn Flores describes her research

In summer 2020, two rising juniors--both English majors at UC Merced--conducted original research as part of the UROC-H program

Cathryn Flores conducted a practice-based project for which she with collaborated with the local Merced Shakespearefest, who just finished filming a bilingual web series, Ricardo el Segundo. Cathryn wrote and performed the music for this virtual show, and over the summer she also conducted research about electronic music as well as music in Shakespeare. Her research argues that electronic music allows people to collaborate across time and space and is a key tool for creating inclusive theatrical projects, especially in the age of COVID. Check out her abstract and presentation here

Ying Wei Zhang has researched the role that ecology can play in the theatre. She conducted interviews with theatre directors around the world, and argues that collaborative, community-centered Shakespearean theatre has a role to play in encouraging environemtnal action. You can read her abstract and research poster here

In summer 2019, Maria Nguyen-Cruz conducted research on Shakespeare in community performances in California for her project "Social Justice Bard: Grassroots Shakespeare as Social Activism." 

Maria describes their experience: 

"As a part of the UROC-Humanities program I pushed the limits of my imagination and explored a side of literary studies that I would’ve otherwise not had access to. I spent the summer of 2019 traveling from city to city to document the different types of Shakespeare performances, and while at my home campus I learned to use research methods that connect my research to theory. My work, Social Justice Bard: Grassroots Shakespeare as Activism, argued that grassroots Shakespeare performances are intrinsically anti-divisive and anti-fascist because these performances lend themselves to establish bonds between community, actor, and work-- overcoming the tide of divisive hate movements. Through this program and my mentor, Katherine S. Brokaw, I met someone whose works aligns closely with my own: grassroots Shakespeare scholar and University of Warwick PH.D candidate William Wolfgang. Now Wolfgang, two other undergraduate students at UC Merced, and I are working on a bilingual production of Richard II to create bonds between all Merced residents through community theater. I cannot thank the Mellon Foundation enough for making this feat of community togetherness possible."

--Maria Nguyen-Cruz

And Ying Wei explains:

"As an undergrad student I came to UC Merced with ambitions to participate in research and, later, receive higher academic degrees. Trouble is, I had no idea where to start—how do I conduct research in the real world, how will I find the time and money to afford to do research, and what’s the process for applying to grad programs? Being a first generation immigrant, my parents can’t offer me guidance, being as unfamiliar as I was with the education system myself. Plus, my poor experiences in high school led to skewed ideas of what research truly is, especially in a social science and humanities context. Luckily, the UROC-H program is helping me and other students like myself—mostly minority, low income, and requiring directions through these confusing years of higher education—in reaching our full potential and beyond. We are given the opportunity to achieve greatness without worrying about being unaware of specific procedures or legal technicalities, nor about not having funds to, for example, travel for conferences. For this and more I am forever grateful to UROC-H!"

--Ying-Wei Anna Zhang

Summer 2021

In summer 2021, four students are working with Dr. Fatima Burney on developing literary podcasts, and four other students are working with Dr. Katherine Brokaw on creating archives for the innovative Harlem Shakespeare Festival and LA Women's Shakespeare Company. Their findings will be reported here!

In addition to the UROC-H program, all UC Merced students complete a senior thesis in their final year. Some do so by participating in the year-long Honors Program.

In spring 2020, we honor Diana Lara, who recieved highest honors for her thesis "In the Age of Fanfiction: Redefining Literary Readership and Authorship in the Twenty-First Century." Diana also recieved UC Merced's Distinguished Student award upon graduation, and was honored virtually in May 2020. 

I spent the summer of 2019 traveling from city to city to document the different types of Shakespeare performances, and while at my home campus I learned to use research methods that connect my research to theory.

Maria Nguyen-Cruz, English Major ('20)

Luckily, the UROC-H program is helping me and other students like myself—mostly minority, low income, and requiring directions through these confusing years of higher education—in reaching our full potential and beyond. We are given the opportunity to achieve greatness without worrying about being unaware of specific procedures or legal technicalities, nor about not having funds to, for example, travel for conferences.

Ying-Wei Anna Zhang ('22)