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Freshman Honors Program
John Ballantyne Hall

University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Ave
Stockton, CA 95211

Monthly Honors Seminars

2015-2016 Honors Seminars

Biology Building, Room 101
Thursdays at 6 PM

September 3: Mary Kay Camarillo
School of Engineering and Computer Science
Water Treatment in a Time of Scarcity

California’s water resources are perpetually strained due to its large population, productive agricultural sector, and industries. Recent drought aggravates water stress, making it more challenging to provide safe and reliable water. As a result of water scarcity, engineered solutions are needed to protect water resources and provide proper treatment of available water. Protection of human health and the environment are paramount in managing water. In this presentation, I will present case studies demonstrating how water treatment is being implemented in California, outlining current practice and highlighting opportunities for future projects.

September 24: Greg Rohlf
Department of History
What is a Town? - The Urban Morphology of Towns and Cities in Asia

Urban morphology combines geography, anthropology and history to explain how the shapes of towns and cities change over time. The unit of analysis is scalable from the attributes of buildings and streets, to neighborhoods, the city itself, and its place in the region. A city like Tokyo shows its historical provenance in the same way that Los Angeles does, although each has a very different historical origin and trajectory. In this presentation, we will examine the shapes of three different urban traditions in Asia and how they have changed over time. We will examine the Chinese imperial city tradition, the Silk Road Islamic urban tradition and the urban patterns of Tibet.

October 22: Marcos Gridi-Papp
Department of Biological Sciences
The Evolution of Complexity in Communication

The origin of elaborate traits is a major question in evolutionary biology. Complex ornaments are frequently found in association with courtship and are used for communication with potential mates. The lecture will present the issue in its simplest form, in which animals that perform courtship using one sound start using a second one. By examining the forces that drive the evolution of the courtship call we will identify processes that lead to added complexity. We will then explore the applicability of such concepts to other organisms.

November 19: Monika Meler
Department of Art and Graphic Design
The Case For Getting Lost: How Creativity Works

In 1888, Vincent Van Gogh cut off the lower part of his ear, which at that time was not considered art. Shortly after, he painted Self-Portrait with Bandaged Air and Pipe, which is considered one of the most significant works of art he ever made. In 1971, less than 100 years later, performance artist Chris Burden shot himself, which is a work of art. Any documentation of the shooting is not considered art. Using notable works of art from the last 100 years of creative history, this lecture will examine the ways in which art forms and creativity have changed and how these changes in concept, execution, technology, collaboration, and the rise of social media affect artists working today.

January 29: Jim Uchizono
Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Suicide Takes an Instant, but Anti-Depressive Therapy Takes a Lifetime

Current drug therapy for depression can take weeks to months to help alleviate depression; sometimes this is too long and suicide is the result. A recent study show shows that ~25% of students surveyed at a university health center showed or expressed signs of depression with ~10% of these students expressing thoughts of suicide. A way must be developed that can act quickly to help relieve depression. The goal of this research is to utilize rat studies to better understand how different molecules in the brain, known as neurotransmitters, can be quickly increased or decreased by different drugs. This knowledge gives us insight into drug candidates that one day may quickly alleviate depression and thus, potentially curb some suicides. The three neurotransmitters we focus on are serotonin (5-HT), noradrenaline (NE), and γ aminobutyric acid (GABA). In these studies, two small probes are place into the brain of rats, who are allowed to freely move around and eat/drink. At different times, we place specific drugs into their brains and then monitor the 5-HT, NE, or GABA levels over specified periods of time.

February 25: Ken Albala
Department of History
The Kitchen as Research Lab

For the past two decades, Ken Albala has been seeking to recreate historic recipes both in the archive and on the table. This talk will recount in words and pictures the many hands-on experiments he has conducted that have propelled the field of food history in ways that were unthinkable a generation ago. The goal of his work has been not merely to cook for the purpose of entertainment and pleasure, but to understand the aesthetic choices people make in the past as part of their overall sensibilities, akin to those in art and architecture, music and literature.

March 24: Elizabeth Basha
School of Engineering and Computer Science
Aerial Robots Supporting Environmental Sensing

Understanding the impact of wetlands and watersheds requires monitoring these environments. Yet, gaining the knowledge to determine sensing locations and the act of installing sensors disrupts the environment. My research focuses on novel adaptive deployment mechanisms to install, monitor, and maintain sensor networks for environmental monitoring with a specific focus on ecologically sensitive regions. Sensor networks collaborate with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to solve these problems through inductive recharging, data mulling, and automated installation. This talk presents my latest research in this area along with use cases in underwater sensing and bridge monitoring.

April 21: Lara Killick
Department of Health, Exercise and Sports Science
Project YES!: Immersion, Empowerment and Action in 'the 209'

In the past decade, Stockton has experienced a range of social conditions that have contributed to significant health disparities and poor health-related outcomes amongst its residents. Municipal bankruptcy, high unemployment/foreclosure rates, a host of problematic urban-environmental practices and an increasing number of Stocktonians living below the poverty line have given rise to the emergence of five “communities of concern” within the city limits; two of these are located just south of our Campus. In 2011, a team of local community leaders, frustrated by the inertia at the highest levels of our City governance formed Project YES!, with a view to improve the health profile, outcomes and environment of Stockton through youth and community-led initiatives. During this interactive seminar, I will challenge some powerful stereotypes about Stockton, introduce you to Project YES!, the work we do, the research we conduct and the opportunities for your potential involvement while you are here at Pacific and light a fire of social activism in you all.