Curricular Resource Center

Theories in Action Symposium

Theories in Action (TiA) is an interdisciplinary conversation enabling undergraduates to share and showcase their research, leadership activities, artistic productions, community engagement and other worthwhile endeavors.

Since 2010, TiA has provided hundreds of Independent Concentrators and other students a forum to share their work with and beyond the Brown community through roundtable and poster sessions, resulting in a rich exchange of ideas and learning. This year, we invite the broader undergraduate community to present at TiA.

TiA will be held this spring from April 30 - May 2, 2024.  Applications for presenters are available here.  To learn more, please contact and/or come to our open hours.

Theories in Action is co-sponsored by the Curricular Resource Center and The College, and is funded in part by The Island Fund - Engaged Life Partnership Endowment.

Questions? Email You can also contact CRC Assistant Director Janet Isserlis.

2023 Symposium

Organizers: Tara Hislip '25 and Daniel Solomon '26

The 2023 TiA Symposium took place on Wednesday, May 3 and Thursday, May 4 in the Stephen Robert ’62 Campus Center, Petteruti Lounge.

2023 Symposium Schedule     2023 Roundtable/Lightning Talk Recordings


  • David Arango ’23 MPH

    "Analyzing adolescent-friendly TB services in Lima, Peru"
    Pronouns he/him
    Independent Concentration M.P.H. Global Health
    Advisor(s) Dr. Silvia Chiang

    David is from Medellin, Colombia. He is a second-year MPH student concentrating on global health. His research focuses on disease treatment and prevention in Latin America. His thesis focuses on understanding the barriers and facilitators of TB services for adolescents in Peru.

  • Jason Brown ’23

    "Afrofantasia: The Journey Of Iyanu"
    Pronouns he/him
    Independent Concentration A.B. – Black Speculative Arts and Afrofuturism
    Advisor(s) Professor Elmo Terry-Morgan of Rites and Reason, Professor Matthew Guterl, and Professor Kiana Murphy

    My name is Jason Brown (He/Him), and my independent concentration is Black Speculative Arts and Afrofuturism AB. I’m a graduating senior and writer-actor-producer from Kansas City. My career goals include becoming a multi-hyphenate talent with the ability to write, produce, and perform in the stories I create.

    Black Speculative Arts and Afrofuturism uses Creative Writing and Performance Acting as an artistic vessel for exploring the Black diaspora and Black culture in extraordinary situations, such as; alternate histories, futures, Earths and parallel dimensions. Afrofuturism is a Black liberation creative methodology in music, fashion, and visual media where the experience of the African diaspora intersects with twentieth-century performance, digital culture, creative writing, techno-culture (sciences and technologies), and philosophy. The purpose of Black Speculative Arts and Afrofuturism is to develop skills in dramatic writing, long prose, and performance acting, while also fostering knowledge of Black cultures.

    My Honors thesis is a performance play called Afrofantasia: The Journey Of Iyanu. I was advised by Professor Elmo Terry-Morgan of Rites and Reason, Professor Matthew Guterl and Professor Kiana Murphy of American Studies.

  • Tao Burga Montoya ’24

    "Interventions for Improving Institutional Decision-Making"
    Independent Concentration A.B. – Behavioral Decision Sciences

    Tao studies Behavioral Decision Sciences with a specialization in Nuclear Security. He interned at the Swiss Existential Risk Initiative last summer, where he researched interventions to improve institutional decision-making under the mentorship of Professor Bruce Tonn from the University of Tennessee. Tao is interested in researching existential risks: those that threaten human extinction or the permanent collapse of human civilization. 

  • Isabel Cox ’23

    "The System Played A Glitch on Me:" Systemic Contributors to Burnout at a Refugee Resettlement Agency in Massachusetts"
    Independent Concentration A.B. – Human Rights & the Refugee Experience
    Advisor(s) Andrea Flores, Dave Polatty, and Blair Sackett

    Izzy is a graduating senior from Chicagoland, concentrating in Human Rights & the Refugee Experience and Middle East Studies. Her thesis, titled "The System Played A Glitch on Me:" Systemic Contributors to Burnout at a Refugee Resettlement Agency in Massachusetts, explores the challenges that resettlement workers face in their day-to-day jobs through original ethnographic research. Her incredible advisors are Andrea Flores, Dave Polatty, and Blair Sackett. 

  • Caroline David '23

    "Using Human-Centered Design to Develop a Grabber Product for Wheelchair Users"
    Pronouns she/her/hers
    Independent Concentration A.B. – Human-Centered Design
    Advisor(s) Professor Kathryn Spoehr

    Caroline is from New York City and is double-concentrating in engineering and human-centered design, an independent concentration. She's passionate about employing user research to design a more accessible, healthier, and usable world for all. For her capstone project for her independent concentration, she worked with the company Includesign to design a better assistive-grabbing device for wheelchair users. Outside of her studies, you can talk to her about bike-packing, physics, and cognitive perception of light, or money and land re-distribution in the U.S.

  • Alexa De La Fuente ’23

    “The Messy In-Between: Representations of Latina Survivors of Gender-Based Violence in Television Shows (2013-2022)”
    Pronouns she/her/hers
    Independent Concentration A.B. – Ethnic Studies and Education
    Advisor(s) Dr. Iván Ramos and Dr. Leticia Alvarado

    Alexa De La Fuente is a current senior concentrating in Ethnic Studies and Education. Her thesis is titled “The Messy In-Between: Representations of Latina Survivors of Gender-Based Violence in Television Shows (2013-2022).” Her primary advisor is Dr. Iván Ramos from the Department of Theater Arts and Performance Studies, and her second reader is Dr. Leticia Alvarado from the Department of American Studies and Ethnic Studies. Born in Dallas, Texas, Alexa is interested in thinking through gender-based violence, power dynamics, borderlands, and media analysis, focusing on considering theory as praxis. Using a methodology of close reading and reading against the grain, Alexa’s thesis project traces the queer gestures constructing the depicted Latina group formations within her chosen objects of study—Devious Maids, One Day at a Time, and Euphoria—to understand the morass of affect, embodiment, and community-building. This is significant in delineating the creativity and relationship dynamics of sidelined groups as they counter and complicate understandings of gender-based violence and survivorship. Alexa will specifically offer a closer look into her conceptualization of baddieness through a reading of Euphoria to transfigure “bad” Latina stereotypes into messy opportunities to reclaim desire and authorship amid critiques of violent and limiting storylines.

  • Arenal Haut '24

    Pronouns she/her
    Independent Concentration A.B. – Public Health; A.B. – Science, Technology, and Society

    Arenal Haut is a junior from Baltimore, Maryland concentrating in Public Health and Science, Technology, and Society on the pre-medical track. Her Lightning Talk, Disability as Diversity: Community, Conversations, and Course Development, incorporates insights from the wide-ranging Disability Justice projects she has engaged with throughout the year. Arenal’s work, including an UTRA dedicated to course development, the founding of a new student organization at the School of Public Health, and so much more, has been supported by Professor Sarah Skeels. In addition to Arenal’s work about Disability Justice, she sings a cappella with the Alef Beats and advocates with Students for Educational Equity.

  • Rachel Huynh ’23

    "Parenting Picky Eating for Children with Autism"
    Pronouns she/her
    Independent Concentration A.B. – Food and Health in U.S. American Society
    Advisor(s) Tayla von Ash, Sc.D.

    Rachel is from San Jose, California, and will graduate with a concentration in Food and Health in U.S. American Society. On campus, she is an Army ROTC cadet, Independent Concentration Co-coordinator, and Emergency Medical Technician. Upon graduation in May 2023, she will commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the United States Army and will attend medical school at the University of California, San Francisco.

  • Kevin Kim ’25

    "Unraveling the Rhythms of Biofilm: A Model for Understanding Oscillatory Behavior"
    Pronouns He/Him/His
    Independent Concentration Sc.B. – Chemical Physics and Philosophy
    Advisor(s) Dr. Brenda Rubenstein

    My name is Kevin, and I'm a sophomore studying Chemical Physics and Philosophy. My project on the oscillatory behavior of biofilm combines a year and a half of research done in Professor Rubenstein's lab. Not only do these oscillations provide an interesting challenge for computational and theoretical modeling, but it has philosophical implications in collective evolution, a field I’m interested in further pursuing. 

  • John Lin ’23

    "Price Transparency for Healthcare in the United States: Promises and Pitfalls"
    Pronouns he/him
    Independent Concentration A.B. – Health Systems & Policy, Sc.B. – Biology
    Advisor(s) Paul Greenberg, MD, MPH; Margaret Weir, PhD; David Meyers, PhD, MPH

    John Lin is a senior from Sugar Land, Texas studying Health Systems & Policy and Biology at Brown University. He leads Brown's peer advising for the Fellowships, Internships, and Research experiences (FIRe) Initiative, serves as a Meiklejohn Peer Advisor, and Governing Councilor and Student Section Chair for the Texas Public Health Association. He has worked as an ORISE Fellow at the CDC National Center for Health Statistics, Polling Director for Brown's Undergraduate Council of Students, and on the Board of Directors of Shape Up Fort Bend. 

    John has authored 32 peer-reviewed articles in journals such as Journal of Surgical Education, Eye, and Health Policy & Technology. He is headed to medical school at the University of Pennsylvania as a 21st Century Scholar, where he will bring his love for amateur cartography and table tennis with him.

  • Maddie McCarthy ’24

    Independent Concentration A.B. – Medical Anthropology, A.B. – Health and Human Biology

    Maddie McCarthy (she/her) is a junior concentrating in Health and Human Biology from Barrington, Rhode Island. She recently returned from a gap year as a Research Coordinator with the Department of Surgery at Stanford University where she worked on studies aiming to make surgery safer and more accessible. This summer, she will be interning with the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General to work on the United States' most important health policy initiatives. She also serves as an appointed member of the Rhode Island Hospital Ethics Committee. When not going for long runs on the East Side of Providence, she loves finding a good cup of espresso, reading medical non-fiction, and chasing her two Portuguese Water Dogs. 

  • Margherita Micaletti-Hinojal ’23

    "From Principles to Practice: the Morality of Human Rights Interventions"
    Pronouns she/her/hers
    Independent Concentration A.B. – Philosophy, A.B. – Political Science
    Advisor(s) David Estlund

    Margherita Micaletti-Hinojal is a Political Science and Philosophy double concentrator. While at Brown, she discovered a passion for international human rights law, a passion which only intensified after studying abroad in Cuba and which inspired her philosophy thesis on the morality of human rights interventions. After graduation, Margherita plans to work for a few years in New York before attending law school to study international human rights.

  • Kaely Michels-Gualtieri ’23

    "The Historical and Literary Foundations of Transformative Leadership"
    Pronouns she/her/hers
    Independent Concentration A.B. – The Historical and Literary Foundations of Transformative Leadership
    Advisor(s) Joseph Pucci and Sarah Taylor

    After a decade of performing as a swinging trapeze artist, my travels led me to the Resumed Undergraduate Education (RUE) Program at Brown—my real world education swung into a world class one. As a retired trapeze artist and a student in my thirties, I recognize that my academic career has been anything but traditional. Before enrolling at Brown, I sustained a serious concussion. I went from having a solo act in Cirque du Soleil to being bedridden for more than half a year. Experiencing a traumatic brain injury (TBI) changed the way that I can engage with the world.  Like the suffering of Shakespeare’s protagonists when dealing with trauma, my own experiences with the TBI began to peel back the layers of what defined me as a human being. Lincoln is remembered today as one of our nation’s greatest presidents. Few people are aware that he carried a copy of Shakespeare’s Macbeth in his pocket, the way that many other leaders carry around the Bible. My interest in these topics is embedded in understanding which tools leaders harness to confront adversity.

  • Emily Moini ’23

    "Between Purpose and Profit: Examining The Effect of Corporate Social Responsibility Performance on Capital Access Among Publicly Traded Companies"
    Independent Concentration A.B. – Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)
    Advisor(s) Amy Handlan, Bill Allen, and Alex Gourevitch

    Emily is a senior concentrating in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. At Brown, she has served as the co-president of Brown 180 Degrees Consulting, a Social Innovation Fellow at the Swearer Center, and is a member of the Women's Cross Country and Track teams. Her senior capstone is motivated by a passion for leveraging data and evidence-based decision-making to tackle pressing social and environmental issues. 

  • Davi Sapiro-Gheiler ’23

    "after Ooze: Self-Portraits of Embodiment"
    Pronouns she/they/ella
    Independent Concentration A.B. – The Body: Trans Studies, Aesthetic Culture, Creative Practice
    Advisor(s) Lisa Biggs, Ivan Ramos, S.A. Chavarría

    Davi Sapiro-Gheiler is a daughter, a sister, a friend, sometimes a mentor, often an artist, and always a femme queen. Her capstone works auto-ethnographically to examine the aesthetics of trans embodiment, drawing from her own experience and leaning on creative practice as an expression of self. She is a consistent spoken word performer for the BCSC, LGBTQ Center, and Sarah Doyle Center and is a loud voice for trans women of color communities on and off campus. After Brown, Davi will continue her evolution as an artist and involvement in her communities home and away, but you can find her somewhere in New York City.

  • Logan Torres ’24

    "Central Falls Climate Action Plan"
    Pronouns He/Him/His
    Independent Concentration Environmental Studies and Political Science

    Logan Torres is an undergraduate at Brown University in his third year studying environmental studies and political science. In his work as a legal intern for Central Falls Rhode Island he created a Climate Action Plan, which will help determine the future of Inflation Reduction Act funding allocation and how community engagement can lead to positive solution building. Concurrently, Logan also is a Spring 2023 Campus Scholar for Freedom for Individual Rights and Expression, Brown University Class of 2024 Student Body President, works in Conservation DNA research, leads Brown College Democrats in policy directives as Policy Director, and volunteers for Climate Action Rhode Island, among other commitments." 

  • Sojas Wagle ’23

    “People have very gendered dreams about their children”: A Qualitative Description of Provider Perspectives on Gender-Affirming Care for Youth
    Pronouns he/him
    Independent Concentration Sc.B. – Psychiatric Epidemiology
    Advisor(s) Don Operario, Shufang Sun, & Michelle Forcier

    Sojas Wagle '23 is from Springdale, Arkansas, and is doing an independent concentration in Psychiatric Epidemiology, or studying the incidence, distribution, and control of mental illness in (marginalized) populations. His thesis explores the thematic elements of gender-affirming care from the perspective of both gender minority youth and their caregivers by way of key informant interviews with medical and mental health providers, paying special attention to how gender-affirming care can be used as a tool to attenuate psychological distress in children and adolescents with gender dysphoria.

  • Lila Zimbalist ’23

    "Developing a Computational Neuroscience Concentration"
    Pronouns she/her
    Independent Concentration Sc.B. Computational Neuroscience
    Advisor(s) Dr. Monica Linden, Dr. David Sheinberg

    Lila is a senior from New Jersey doing an Independent Concentration in Computational Neuroscience. For her capstone project, she's been working with a team of faculty members and administrators in the neuroscience department to develop her IC into a standard concentration at Brown. She hopes to have Computational Neuroscience approved by the College in the coming months so that students can declare it as soon as the 2023-2024 school year. Her poster goes through creating a Computational Neuroscience concentration, including what students will learn before graduating and the types of classes concentrators will be expected to take. 

2023 Acknowledgements

  • Brown Facilities Management
  • Brown Media Services
  • Janet Isserlis
  • Lyz Alexandre
  • Pranzi Catering
  • University Scheduling Office