Women’s Health, Gender and Empowerment Center of Expertise awards summer grants to five UC undergraduates

September 4, 2018

Five University of California undergraduates pursuing summer internships or fellowships have been awarded scholarships to advance their work in innovative research, programs and policy development activities in the areas of women’s health, gender and empowerment, and specifically to investigate the intersection and interrelated nature of these three areas.

The UC Global Health Institute’s Women’s Health, Gender and Empowerment Center of Expertise (WHGE-COE) awarded the $2,500 stipends to support students pursuing unpaid internships and fellowships. Students may use the awards for travel, project expenses or stipends.

The five students represent UC Riverside, UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, UC Merced, and UC Santa Barbara. Each student works with mentors from the WHGE-COE and will make a presentation about their projects at the COE’s winter retreat in January 2019.

2018 Summer Scholarship Recipients

Angela Williams

Angela WilliamsUC Riverside

Major: English

Angela’s study builds on her previous research and involves an anthropological, feminist, and literary examination of drug addiction among prominent figures in literature and music across time. Unfortunately, women addicts have been glossed over in literature and have not been studied in depth. While in Cambridge, U. K., with the guidance of Dr. Ann Cheney and Dr. Fuson Wang, Angela will explore the differences between male and female addicts, focusing on Mary Robinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Courtney Love. She will focus on how drugs are advertised towards women, treatment options, and artistic license of female addicts and how they differ from their male counterparts.

COE Mentor: Ann Cheney

Daisy Orellana

Daisy OrellanaUC Santa Cruz

Majors: Community Studies & Feminist Studies
Minor: Latin American and Latino Studies

Through her UCSC Community Studies Field Study program, Daisy will be interning at ACCESS Women’s Health Justice in Oakland, CA. She will be supporting ACCESS’ bilingual and confidential healthline, as well as optimizing their data collection, analysis, and visual presentation strategy for organization-wide data using methods that center callers’ privacy and security. The general aim of Daisy’s project is to contribute to the set of tools that can be used in organizing and empowering ACESS’ callers and allied community members to challenge structural power inequalities at the local and state levels.

COE Mentors: Ushma Upadhyay and Laury Oaks

Desirée Frietas

Desirée FrietasUC Davis

Major: Sociology

This project explores current health issues and disparities among incarcerated women, paying special attention to populations that face unique health needs such as pregnant and transgender inmates. Under the guidance of criminologist Chris Smith, Desirée will research current incarceration experiences of women, including access to resources, treatment, and the potential health outcomes of these practices. As an intern at the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, she will examine current policies and legislation in order to understand how California addresses or fails to address health equity for incarcerated women.

COE Mentor: Rana Marie Jaleel

Elizabeth Peña

Elizabeth PeñaUC Merced

Major: Molecular Biology

This project will build on recent findings from Dr. Ramirez’s prior research on cultural factors when considering Mexican-American women’s behaviors, structural factors that negatively impact food behaviors, and individual skills-based training. After completing the required reading of empowerment approaches for diet promotion, Elizabeth will work with graduate students to create a guide to test these messages. Following the development and convenience-based validation of the message, she will set up the logistics of recruitment events. Elizabeth will be responsible for creating and executing 30 in-depth cognitive interviews to assess the Mexican-American women (ages 18-29) participants’ perception about the messages. Interview data will be analyzed using the qualitative software program NVIVO.

COE Mentor: Susana Ramirez

Gabriela Ochoa-Estrada

Gabriela Ochoa-EstradaUC Santa Barbara

Majors: Global Studies & Feminist Studies

In this study, Gabriela will compare the reproductive health services that Latina immigrants were able to receive when they were back home versus the kinds of services they are able to receive here. By conducting interviews in different areas of California and other states like Illinois and Arkansas, Gabriela will be able to go more into depth on where Latina immigrants feel these services are different and what services they expect or hope for in order to address gaps in services. The goal of her project is to further help Latina immigrants live the healthiest and safest lives they can, regardless of their background.

COE Mentor: Laury Oaks