Editing, Researching, Interviewing
Psychology, Anthropology, Religious Studies, Traveling, Publishing, Editing
Kara attended San Francisco State University initially intending to study Creative Writing. Her curiosity regarding social relationships led her to change her major to Psychology in attempts to develop a method for understanding human behavior. She completed the majority of her prerequisites at San Francisco State University, then transferred to U.C. Berkeley in hopes of a more research-focused institution.
Kara transferred to U.C. Berkeley as a junior transfer from another four-year institution. Focusing on social dynamics, cultural comparisons, and the individual mind, she double-majored in Psychology and Anthropology. In her second and third semester, she worked as an undergraduate research apprentice for a study conducted by psychology Professor Dacher Keltner. The study involved assessing the experience of awe felt by travelers visiting specific locations. To be an apprentice to this study, Kara completed the Collaborative Initiative Training Initiative (CITI), receiving certificates for Social and Behavioral Responsible Conduct of Research Curriculum certificate and the Human Research Curriculum certificate. In her last two semesters at U.C. Berkeley, Kara began researching the Berkeley Zen Center and wrote an 85-page ethnographic thesis regarding the practices and beliefs of the attendees. Her research and thesis under Professors Charles Hirschkind and Jann Ronis accredited her with high honors in Anthropology upon graduation.
Having been raised by a minister in a religious home, Kara has had a fascination with what it means to be both spiritual and religious. Her Methodist Christian upbringing has led her to seek out intellectual sources and religious scholars enamored with the issues of religions around the world, the benefits and negative effects of both religious and spiritual practices, and the political and global issues relating to religious organizations. Kara researched a local Zen Center while attending U.C. Berkeley and wrote an 85-page ethnographic thesis on the beliefs, practices, and lives of the individuals in attendance. The thesis involved interviews with the attendees, integration into the center as an attendee, research pertaining to the historical significance and foundation of their particular religious/spiritual center, as well as book reviews of anthropological writers having written similar works to Kara's research. In conjunction with writing, researching, and participating in this spiritual experience, Kara was in constant contact with a professor who provided feedback which then was utilized in a self-editing process. While this thesis was localized to a specific place and the individual spiritual experiences of a close-knit group of people, Kara has also researched religious practices and spiritual understandings of various cultures and times (modern day Muslim practices, notions of secularism, ancient Buddhism, and the introduction of Christianity).
In dealing with modern day issues relating to gender and sex, the awareness of cultural norms, political institutions, and various restraints on gender and sex expression are critical in understanding the roles of women in modern day society. As an avid researcher in the various roles played in contemporary life, Kara has investigated the advantages and disadvantages of being a women, as well as the role of womanhood as understood anthropologically in other societies. Kara's time spent as an unpaid intern at Centerforce in Oakland, CA, helped her to realize the extent of the physical and emotional turmoil that women specifically experience as an inmate. Further, her work experience at Cotton Basics in Oakland under the women-run business management and women-centered fashion organization contributed to her understanding of challenges women experience both in business management and individual physical expression. Noted below, the article she wrote regarding the effects of incarceration on women was critical to her understanding of issues specifically pertaining to women, highlighting unique hardships incarcerated women have to overcome.
As someone interested in the anthropological development of the human species, as well as the inherent psychological and biological nature of being human, Kara has researched and written numerous essays pertaining to the scientific understanding of humanity. Ranging from biological and hormonal levels effecting human functioning to distant ancestors of the human species, the scope of topics she has written about and is interested in is vast when it comes to social sciences. Kara was a research apprentice for the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program at U.C. Berkeley and helped conduct two different studies pertaining to social science research, specifically the study of emotion when experiencing a new place. Kara worked as an unpaid intern at Centerforce, a non-profit organization aiding the incarcerated population of California, which contributed to her knowledge and understanding of the negative implementation of social institutions in the United States.
With experience writing various types of articles, Kara's range varies from ancient human societies to modern politics to biological issues. Mainly having focused on social science issues, Kara's interest in anthropological, sociological, and psychological matters is unlimited. Most of her article writing deals with issues pertaining to human behavior and cultural/societal institutions. Kara's experience in article writing focuses mostly on subjects she has found to be significant in understanding contemporary human issues. She has written an 85-page thesis while attending U.C. Berkeley and countless essays throughout her college experience, including case students of patients in therapy, interviews with professors and professionals, and note-taking for meetings as a research apprentice at URAP and as an intern at Centerforce.
With experience conducting interviews and writing interview essays, Kara has an understanding of the importance of critical questions in order to glean the desired information from an interviewee. Having practiced this with various topics and people of a wide range of backgrounds and professions, Kara has acquired specific skills crucial to interview writing in which she has utilized in her honors thesis. Kara has also conducted a series of interviews regarding hardships associated with romantic relationships for a book she is currently working on. The specific sample provided dealt with the life of an anthropologist and his experience as both a teacher and anthropologist.