2015-16 Seed Grant Projects


Developing Feminist Frameworks for Ethics of Genome Modification

Project leaders: Lisa Ikemoto (Law; UCD Health System Bioethics Program; UCD Center for Science and Innovation Studies)
, Rana M. Jaleel, (Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies), Meaghan O’Keefe (Religious Studies), and Sarah Perrault (University Writing Program)

Project description: CRISPR/Cas-9, the powerful new gene modification technology, has spurred debate about human germline modification. Applicable to any living species, it has sparked debate over issues ranging from patient rights to environmental justice. This debate has focused heavily on potential cures, risks, and the implications of irreversible changes in future humans. This working group will develop feminist frameworks for the ethics of genome modification, and examine—among other things—CRISPR/Cas-9's role in assisted reproductive technology (ART), its impact in the Global South, and communication ethics.

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Gender Distribution in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences: Factors Influencing Major Choices by Women and Under-represented Minorities

Project leaders: Susan Ebeler (Viticulture & Enology and Associate Dean Undergraduate Academic Programs, CA&ES Effectiveness), Patsy Eubanks Owens (Human Ecology), Astrid Volder (Plant Sciences), Marco Molinaro (Assistant Vice Provost for Educational Effectiveness)

Project description: Enrollment of women in higher education has increased over the past 50 year, however, significant inequities in gender distribution remain across individual majors. Under represented minority (URM) students are typically under-represented in higher education and are proportionally under-represented in most STEM fields. These trends are further exacerbated for minority women. In this project we propose to evaluate the disparities in gender and under represented populations within the agricultural, environmental, and human/social sciences in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CA&ES). An initial analysis of enrollment data indicates that there are large discrepancies in representation of URM females in the different CA&ES majors, however there is little information on how URM students select majors. We propose to conduct focus groups with high school students and UC Davis CA&ES students to understand the factors influencing their major-selection decisions. By understanding factors that influence major choice, we hope to identify approaches to increase participation of women and URM students in STEM fields.

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Teamwork in the Hospital: Gendered and Racialized Epistemologies at the Bedside

Project leaders: Ester Carolina Apesoa-Varano (Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing), Vicki Smith (Department of Sociology), Ming-Cheng Lo (Department of Sociology)

Project description: Does teamwork advance a more egalitarian ethos and set of practices at the bedside whereby historically marginalized gendered and racialized epistemologies contribute to the course of patient care? Further, how do organizational structures relate to these teamwork micro-level processes at the bedside? We examine how gendered and racialized/ethnicized epistemologies of care are enacted at the bedside and seek to understand how larger gendered and racialized organizational and cultural dynamics are related to the micro-level interactions of practitioners in a care team. This project involves a feminist methodological approach that integrates interviews, ethnography, and participant self-narratives as central to understanding the experiences of hospital practitioners under the teamwork model.

farmworker woman

Climate Change, Farmworker Women and Their Families

Project leaders: Yvette Flores (Chicana/o Studies), Kyaw Tha Paw U (Land, Air and Water Resources), M. Anne Visser (Human Ecology; Community and Regional Development), Mary Lou de Leon Siantz (School of Nursing)

Project description: California’s climate change effects on farmworkers have not played a prominent role in the state’s response to the problem. The potential effects of climate change, such as increased drought frequency and duration and higher temperature extremes, on the farmworker women and families, their social structure, and physical and psychological stresses on them, has been only rarely studied.  We propose a study on climate change’s potential effects on farmworker women and their families: How serious are the potential challenges?  What are the specific issues unique to Mexican immigrant, Chicana and other minority women farmworkers that may be unrecognized or ignored in studies about the ramifications of climate change?