Justice-Focused Student Research Featured At 2022 First-Year Student Showcase

Justice-Focused Student Research Featured At 2022 First-Year Student Showcase

Justice-Focused Student Research Featured At 2022 First-Year Student Showcase

Our annual First-Year Student Showcase highlights hands-on, justice-focused research conducted by our newest students with guidance from their faculty mentors. We connected with some of this year’s presenters to find out more about their research and what they learned.

Hamza KhanHamza Khan ’26
Major: Computer Science
Hometown: Queens, New York
Career Aspiration: Lead my own technology company.
Faculty/Staff Research Mentor: Gender Studies Professor Andreina Rosa

Project Title: Leadership: Our Stories
Our group presented a video demonstration on the different fundamentals of ethical leadership. Using different scenarios, we explored what leadership means and the forms it takes in everyday life. While conducting this project, it was surprising to learn how often abuse of power can take place, whether purposefully or unconsciously.

When the research was completed, I concluded that there is a power dynamic in everything, and it can often be over-abused. As a first-year student who hopes to run his own company one day, this research gave me greater insight into the idea of leadership and what it means to be a good leader. Ultimately, being a leader is helping the ones below you reach their full potential. 


Amaris VargasAmaris Vargas ’26
Major: Forensic Psychology
Hometown: Bronx, New York
Career Aspiration: Become a licensed forensic psychologist with a focus on prison/prisoner intake reform.
Faculty/Staff Research Mentor: English Professor Christopher Moore

Project Title: How Does the College Board Put Minority Students at a Disadvantage?
For this study, I wanted to focus on the affect the College Board (the need for AP classes and high SAT scores) may have on the Hispanic/Latinx community and perpetuating inequities in the admissions process. I looked at peer-reviewed studies, news, and magazine articles. I also read first-hand accounts, like the story of four Hispanic students in Inglewood, California who were denied access to advanced courses, and how it directly impacted their chances to get into a good college.

I concluded that the College Board does not allow a fair chance at the college application and acceptance process because the predominantly white institutions associated with it value high SAT scores and high marks in AP classes—both of which are not as easily accessible for minority students. Because of this project, I’ve joined ¡Adelante!. They provide wonderful support to Latinx students. I hope to focus my future work in uplifting the Latinx community. 


Florian GrieseFlorian Griese ’26
Major: Forensic Psychology and Criminology
Hometown: Lübeck, Germany
Career Aspiration: Working to reduce crime and creating greater opportunities for restorative justice and resocialization for system-impacted individuals. Faculty/Staff Research Mentor: Interdisciplinary Studies Professor Adriana Pérez and English Professor Caroline Reitz, Ph.D.

Project Title: Power and Justice
Our group project focused on the word “power” in the context of social justice in the United States, specifically in education, the prison system, immigration, and authority. Each student focused on a specific area and the role power plays. I learned about the prison system, notably the Eastern State Penitentiary (ESP). In prison, system-impacted individuals have no power. They can’t decide when to eat, where to go, or who to socialize with. The power is given to the state, in this case the wardens.

The group concluded that power is needed to preserve systems of oppression, but it can also be used to change these very systems for the better. By conducting this research and learning more about social injustices embedded in so many of the systems in the U.S., it affirms my goal to use a more holistic approach in the justice system.

“I want to thank our faculty, staff, first-year program’s team, and Peer Success Coaches for mentoring our talented students and guiding them through the process. The skills they learned from you will serve them well throughout their lives,” said President Karol V. Mason.