College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

World Languages and Cultures

2024 Capstone

The Faculty in the School of World Languages and Cultures is pleased to present the 2024 WLC Capstone Festival to be held live in Building 504, Friday, May 17, 2024, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. An awards ceremony will start at 2:30 p.m.  Students earning the B.A. in Japanese Language and Culture (JLC), and the B.A. in Spanish Language and Hispanic Cultures (SLHC) from CSU Monterey Bay will present their Capstone project work. These projects reflect the synthesis of knowledge, skills, and abilities developed over the course of a student’s learning experience at CSUMB. The WLC Major Capstone courses (WLC400) were taught by Dr. Rebecca Pozzi and Dr. Shigeko Sekine in the Spring of 2024.


Students posing in front of CAHSS Building Mural

Japanese Language and Culture: Caleb Robbins, David Ortiz, Carlos Rodriguez, Neo Bautista, Gabi Dobrzynska, Shigeko Sekine, Hannah Fulton, Sara Vernetti, Faye Fielder, Charlene Roberts.

Spanish Language and Hispanic Cultures: Luis Diego Reynoso, Ana Ocampo, Juan Antonio Ortiz, Edita Haro-Estrada, Dr. Becky Pozzi, Keiry Romero García, Candice Henry, Susan Braga, Yeritzi Victoria-Rebolledo, Edith Barrera,  Jacqueline Zavala Pantoja, Silvina Bravo. Not pictured Jorge Ambriz.

Format: Students presented their work in presentation format, and took questions following each presentation. View various recordings of the event as a long recording of the event or broken into sections (Zoom recording 1 morning sessions | Zoom 2 afternoon sessions) or on the WLC Facebook Page Please see the student Capstone project descriptions below or view in one document. View photos from the event

The School of World Languages and Cultures is part of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS). 

Presenting Students and Groups

The following students from the major programs in WLC will present their Capstone projects in groups or individually:

Japanese Language and Culture

  • Neo Bautista & David Ortiz
  • Gabi Dobrzynska & Hannah Fulton
  • Faye Fielder & Caleb Robbins
  • Charlene Roberts & Sara Vernetti
  • Carlos Rodriguez

Spanish Language and Hispanic Cultures 

  • Jorge Ambriz, Keiry Romero García, Ana Ocampo
  • Edith Barrera, Silvina Bravo, Edita Haro-Estrada
  • Susan Braga, Candice Henry, Jacqueline Zavala Pantoja
  • Juan Antonio Ortiz, Luis Diego Reynoso
  • Yeritzi Victoria-Rebolledo
  • Welcomes from faculty in the Department of World Languages and Cultures

    Dr. Dustin Wright, Chair, Associate Professor

    and Capstone course instructors:
    Dr. Rebecca Pozzi, Associate Professor
    Dr. Shigeko Sekine, Professor

Session 1a: 9:10-10:55

  • Jorge Ambriz, Keiry Romero García and Ana Ocampo

    Percepciones de dos docentes sobre la importancia de la educación bilingüe en la Costa Central de California

    Teacher Perceptions on the Importance of Bilingual Education on the Central Coast of California

    Advisor: Dr. Rebecca Pozzi

    La Costa Central de California está en su mayoría conformada por personas hispanas, por lo cual actualmente varias escuelas primarias en la región ofrecen programas de educación bilingüe. Sin embargo, no se ha estudiado el impacto de la educación bilingüe en esta área desde la aprobación de la educación bilingüe con la Proposición 227 en 2016. Esta investigación examina los estudios de caso de dos maestras de Kinder en una escuela en la Costa Central: una de una clase monolingüe y otra de una clase bilingüe “one way”. Los resultados indican que las dos maestras apoyan la educación bilingüe aunque enseñan sus clases de diferentes maneras en diferentes lenguas. También, muestran cómo se lleva a cabo este tipo de educación bilingüe además del impacto que las maestras perciben acerca de la educación bilingüe “one way” a temprana edad. 

    The Central Coast of California is made up largely of Hispanic people, which is why currently many elementary schools in the region offer bilingual education programs. However, the impact of bilingual education in this area has not been studied since the approval of bilingual education with Proposition 227 in 2016. This investigation examines the case studies of two Kindergarten teachers in a school on the Central Coast: one from a monolingual class and another from a “one way” bilingual class. The results indicate that the two teachers support bilingual education although they teach their classes in different ways in different languages. They also show how this type of bilingual education is carried out in addition to the impact that teachers perceive about “one way” bilingual education at an early age.

    1. ¿Cuáles son las percepciones de dos maestras de Kinder sobre la importancia de la educación bilingüe en la Costa Central de California?
    2. ¿Cómo se comparan las percepciones de la maestra de la clase bilingüe con las de la maestra de la clase monolingüe?


    1. What are the perceptions of two Kindergarten teachers regarding the importance of bilingual education on the Central Coast of California?
    2. How are perceptions of a monolingual vs. a bilingual Kindergarten teacher similar or different?
  • Charlene Roberts & Sara Vernetti ☀☀

    恋人不要: 日米におけるパラソーシャル関係の増加に関する考察

    No Need for Partners: Analyzing the Rise of Parasocial Relationships in the United States and Japan

    Advisors: Dr. Yoshiko Saito-Abbott and Dr. Shigeko Sekine


    Socialization is an important aspect of human life, one which holds great influence on an individual’s physical and mental well-being. However, it feels as if connecting and socializing with others has become a luxury in the modern age. The transition to a digital era has made parasocial relationships a more accessible and alluring option, offering greater convenience and less risk than traditional interpersonal relationships. We endeavored to investigate this phenomenon by conducting a survey of one hundred respondents, composed of fifty Japanese and fifty American participants. Through this research, we sought to find out how important the ability to engage in traditional interpersonal relationships with others is to individuals, as well as how people perceive the effects of parasocial relationships in regard to themselves and others. Findings showed that despite the ease of interaction a parasocial relationship offers, a majority of both Japanese and American subjects desire to form traditional interpersonal relationships with others. However, both pools of respondents found parasocial relationships to be a positive addition to their lives or the lives of others. Results also showed that Japanese subjects, compared to their American counterparts, were more aware of and likely to participate in parasocial relationships and related activities. Although parasocial relationships are becoming more common, these findings suggest that they are primarily supplementing traditional interpersonal relationships, not replacing them. 


    1. 一般的な対人関係を築く能力はどの程度重要なのか。
    2. 日米の人々はパラソーシャル関係の影響をどのように認識するのか。

    Research Questions:

    1. How important is the ability to engage in traditional interpersonal interactions with others?
    2. In what ways do individuals perceive the effects of parasocial relationships?
  • Edith Barrera, Silvina Bravo and Edita Haro-Estrada

    El uso del espanglés en “Los ojos de Zapata” de Sandra Cisneros

    The Use of Spanglish in “ Eyes of Zapata” by Sandra Cisneros

    Advisor: Dr. Rebecca Pozzi

    La Revolución Mexicana se produjo con el fin de las injusticias del porfiriato y los caciques hacia el pueblo mexicano. Sin embargo, durante esta época, el género femenino no fue valorado ni tenido en cuenta ya que las mujeres estaban sujetas al mando del patriarcado. El cuento “Los ojos de Zapata” (1994), escrito por Sandra Cisneros, cuenta la historia ficticia de Inés, una de las mujeres del revolucionario Emiliano Zapata. Este estudio se centra en cómo la escritora utiliza el espanglés en su cuento con el fin de brindar consciencia acerca de la opresión de la sociedad y el género masculino hacia la mujer mexicana. Los hallazgos muestran un cambio de código del inglés al español para referirse a las mujeres con palabras insultantes. Nuestro análisis no sólo considera el porqué de esta decisión creativa sino también el efecto que tiene en la narrativa. 


    The Mexican Revolution brought with it the end of the injustices of the Porfiriato and the caciques toward the Mexican people. However, during this time, the female gender was not valued or taken into account since women were subject to the command of the patriarchy. The story "Zapata's Eyes" (1994), written by Sandra Cisneros, tells the fictional story of Inés, one of the wives of the revolutionary Emiliano Zapata. This study focuses on how the writer uses Spanglish in her story to provide awareness about the oppression of society and the male gender toward Mexican women. The findings show the use of code-switching from English to Spanish to refer to women with insulting words. Our analysis not only considers the reason for this creative decision but also the effect it has on the narrative.

    ¿Cuánto y qué tipo de espanglés se usa en “Eyes of Zapata" por Sandra Cisneros y cuáles son las implicaciones de este uso? 

    How much and what kind of Spanglish is used in “Eyes of Zapata” by Sandra Cisneros, and what are the implications of this use?

  • Faye Fielder & Caleb Robbins


    Japanese and American Views on Social Media Data Privacy and Content Regulation

    Advisors: Dr. Yoshiko Saito-Abbott and Dr. Shigeko Sekine

    過去10年間に多くの人々が気づき始めたオンライン・サービスの暗黙のトレードオフとは、サービスが無料である場合、ユーザー自身が商品の一部であるという事実だ。検索エンジンやウェブサイト、ソーシャルメディアへの無料アクセスと引き換えに、企業はユーザーのデータを入手し、広告主に提供している。毎日何百万人ものユーザーを取り締まるために、アルゴリズムがユーザーのデータに基づいて各ユーザーに推薦コンテンツを紹介する。しかし、これらの企業がユーザーのデータをどのように利用し、利益を得ているのか、また、プラットフォームのアルゴリズムによってどのようなコンテンツが促進されるのかは、近年さらに議論されるようになっている。この研究では、日米の回答者計80名を対象に、データ・プライバシーやキュレーション・コンテンツをどのように重視しているか、また、ソーシャルメディアの規制やモデレーションについて、どのような認識を持っているかを調査した。日米の回答者の多くは、この問題に関する法律への理解が不足している一方で、コンテンツ・モデレーションがどのように実施されるのかに加え、自分の個人データがどのように使用されているかについての懸念も示した。これは、個人と、企業や政府といった大きな組織との間に大きなずれがある事を示唆していると言える。また、 アメリカ人は一般的にソーシャルメディアのモデレーションをユーザーが行うことを好み、日本人は政府や企業がモデレーションを行うことに寛容であった。これは、日本人とアメリカ人がデータ・プライバシーとコンテンツ・モデレーションに関する大企業の影響力を受け入れるかどうかの大きな違いが、個人主義文化と集団主義文化に基づくものであることを示しているのかもしれない。

    The implicit trade-off that many people have realized in the past decade is when the online service is free; the user is the product. In exchange for free access to search engines, websites, and social media, companies get our data to sell to advertisers. To manage the millions of daily users, algorithms are relied upon to curate recommendations for each individual user based on their data. Yet, how these companies use and profit off of private data and the type of content promoted by the platforms' algorithms have become more discussed in recent years. A total of 80 Japanese and American respondents were surveyed on how they value their data privacy and curated content and their perceptions on regulating and moderating social media platforms. While lacking an understanding of laws on the matter, many American and Japanese respondents expressed concern for their personal data, as well as wariness about how content moderation would be enforced. This may indicate a trend of disconnect between the individual and larger entities, such as companies and governments. Generally, Americans preferred social media moderation to be handled by users, while Japanese were more tolerant of corporations handling moderation. This may also indicate a significant difference between individualist and collectivist cultures' acceptance of larger entities’ reach on data privacy and content moderation.


    1. 日本人とアメリカ人はどのようにソーシャルメディアのデータ機密性と監修されたコンテンツを評価しているのか。
    2. 日本人とアメリカ人はソーシャルメディアの規制とモデレーションについて、どのような見解を持っているのか。

    Research Questions

    1. How do Japanese & Americans  value data privacy and curated content on social media platforms?
    2. What are Japanese and Americans perceptions on regulating and moderating social media platforms?

Session 1b: 11:10-12:20

  • Juan Antonio Ortiz and Luis Diego Reynoso

    “Entre dos mundos”: Estudios de caso sobre el impacto de la educación bilingüe a temprana edad 

    “Between Two Worlds”: Case Studies on the Impact of Bilingual Education at a Young Age

    Advisor: Dr. Rebecca Pozzi

    A pesar de la prohibición de la educación bilingüe en California durante varias décadas, esta educación ha sido clave debido a la diversidad de sus habitantes. En la Costa Central de este estado, donde la mayoría de la población es hispanohablante, la educación bilingüe es imprescindible para el mantenimiento del idioma en las nuevas generaciones. Este estudio se enfoca en los casos de dos estudiantes universitarios que experimentaron la educación bilingüe a temprana edad. Examina sus perspectivas acerca del impacto de la educación bilingüe en sus identidades bilingües, sus percepciones con respecto a sus habilidades en inglés y español y la conexión entre estas habilidades y sus relaciones familiares. Los resultados del estudio demuestran la importancia de este modelo de educación no solo para el desarrollo de la identidad bilingüe y las habilidades en la lengua de casa sino también el papel que juega este idioma en las relaciones familiares.

    Despite the ban on bilingual education in California for several decades, this education has been key due to the diversity of its inhabitants. On the Central Coast of this state, where the majority of the population is Spanish-speaking, bilingual education is essential for maintaining the home language in the newer generations. This study focuses on the cases of two university students who experienced bilingual education from an early age. It examines their perspectives on the impact of bilingual education on their bilingual identities, their perceptions regarding their English and Spanish skills, and the connection between these skills and their family relationships. The results of this study demonstrate the importance of this education model not only for the development of bilingual identity and skills in the home language but also the role that this language plays in family relationships.

    ¿Cuáles son las perspectivas de dos alumnos universitarios acerca del impacto de la educación bilingüe en la niñez con respecto a sus identidades bilingües, sus habilidades lingüísticas en inglés y español y la conexión entre estas habilidades y sus relaciones familiares? 

    What are the perspectives of two college students on the impact of bilingual education in their childhood with respect to their bilingual identities, their linguistic abilities in English and Spanish, and the connection between their language abilities and their family relationships?

  • Neo Bautista & David Ortiz


    Is it worth it? Perceptions of American and Japanese College Students on Pursuing a College Degree after the Pandemic

    Advisors: Dr. Yoshiko Saito-Abbott and Dr. Shigeko Sekine


    Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, universities around the globe were compelled to transition entirely to online learning. Many university students opposed the transition yet continued to pursue their education while questioning the worth of their degrees. Despite the challenges, students adapted to the new learning environment, grappling with issues forming and maintaining relationships, engagement, and the value of their educational experience. We surveyed sixty participants, thirty American and thirty Japanese university students. Through this research, we hoped to answer the following questions: How do American and Japanese students view obtaining a degree after the pandemic? To what extent do Japanese and American students perceive the value of online versus in-person instruction? Our findings showed that American and Japanese students find college to be expensive, which we concluded was because they do not believe that college graduates are fairly compensated regarding the time and money they invested towards obtaining a college degree. American students also take into consideration the debt they are left with after completing college. American students prioritize "practicality" due to high debt, while Japanese crave more "social connections" to enrich their college experience before entering the workforce. The contrast in pandemic-era online learning experiences between American and Japanese students reflects a potential divergence in employer expectations regarding degrees with Japanese employers prioritizing degrees over their American counterparts.  


    1. 米国と日本の学生は   、パンデミック後に学位を取得することに関してどのような見解を持っているのか。
    2. 日米の学生はオンライン授業と対面授業の価値と学位との関係をどのように認識しているのか。

    Research Questions

    1. What degree of importance do American and Japanese students place on obtaining a degree after the pandemic?
    2. To what extent do Japanese and American students perceive the value of online versus in-person instruction?
  • Yeritzi Victoria-Rebolledo

    Los bilingües y sus tasas de punta de la lengua en comparación con los monolingües en inglés

    Bilinguals and their tip-of-the-tongue rates in comparison to English monolinguals

    Advisor: Dr. Rebecca Pozzi 

    Investigaciones sobre la punta de lengua (TOT abreviado en inglés), un fenómeno en el que una persona tiene una fuerte sensación de conocer la palabra, pero experimenta fallas en la recuperación, han encontrado en general que los bilingües experimentan tasas más bajas de TOT que los monolingües. Estos estudios se han centrado principalmente en la comparación entre bilingües y monolingües, pero no han tomado en cuenta los niveles de dominio del español de los bilingües en relación con sus tasas de TOT. Un total de 22 monolingües y 22 bilingües completaron un cuestionario de antecedentes y una versión abreviada de la Stroop Task. Los resultados muestran que los bilingües experimentaron tasas de TOT más altas que los monolingües; sin embargo, esta diferencia no fue estadísticamente significativa. Además, entre los participantes bilingües, cuanto mayor es el nivel de dominio del español, mayores son las tasas de TOT. 

    Research on tip-of-the-tongue (TOT), a phenomenon in which a person has a strong feeling of knowing the target word, but experiences retrieval failure, has generally found that bilinguals experience higher TOT rates than monolinguals. These studies have focused primarily on the comparison of bilinguals versus monolinguals, but have not examined the role of bilinguals’ Spanish proficiency levels in relation to their TOT rates. A total of 22 monolingual and 22 bilingual participants completed a background questionnaire and an abridged version of the Stroop Task. Results show that bilinguals experienced TOT at slightly higher rates than monolinguals; however, this difference was not statistically significant. Moreover, among the bilingual participants, the higher the proficiency level in Spanish, the greater the TOT rates. These findings highlight the need to take participants’ proficiency levels into account when comparing TOT rates and to diversify the participant pool to expand our understanding of bilingual memory. 

    ¿Cómo se comparan las tasas de TOT en hablantes monolingües del inglés con las de hablantes bilingües del inglés/español? 
    ¿Cómo afecta el dominio de español en los bilingües la recuperación de la memoria como en el fenómeno de tip-of-the-tongue (TOT)?

    How do TOT rates in monolingual English speakers compare to those of bilingual English/Spanish speakers? 
    How does proficiency level in Spanish affect the bilingual participants’ TOT rates?

Session 2: 1:00-2:10

  • Carlos Rodriguez


    Japanese and American College Students’ Perceptions of Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Advisors: Dr. Yoshiko Saito-Abbott and Dr. Shigeko Sekine


    In the past, there have been mixed opinions and views about ASD individuals in social relationships, communication, and education about their traits. However, over the years society's growing awareness and acceptance have contributed to meaningful understanding and accommodations for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This resulted in the rise of these individuals being more open about themselves, and new studies have emerged regarding their presence in society. For this study, data was collected from a total of 68 Japanese and American college students to determine their experiences and perceptions of students with ASD. The questions that were asked included how many ASD individuals they are acquainted with, where they learned and experienced their first encounters with ASD, and how they feel about ASD individuals regarding social contexts. The results have indicated that both groups of students generally knew the correct information about ASD. However, it has been shown that Japanese students learned from an educational perspective about ASD due to its presence in college and throughout the media. On the other hand, American students learned from an interpersonal perspective with ASD individuals and from friends and family. For these reasons, Japanese society tends to follow tradition and social norms, while American society is more open and inclusive. And, despite these differences in education and experience, both groups have improved their perceptions and see a need for continued support for autistic individuals and their future. 



    Research Question

    What are the college students’ experiences and perceptions of people with Autism in Japan and the US?

  • Susan Braga, Candice Henry and Jacqueline Zavala Pantoja ☀☀

    “Parte de nosotras”: Percepciones latinas intergeneracionales en torno al uso del español en la Costa Central 

    “Part of Us”: Intergenerational Perceptions of the Use of Spanish by Latinas on the Central Coast

    Advisor: Dr. Rebecca Pozzi

    A pesar de los estudios sobre el español en Estados Unidos llevados a cabo durante las últimas décadas en varias partes del país, las perspectivas de los hispanohablantes en la Costa Central de California han sido poco exploradas. Esta investigación examina los estudios de caso de tres estudiantes universitarias de ascendencia mexicana que residen en la Costa Central de California, de tres generaciones diferentes, enfocándose en sus experiencias familiares, escolares y sociales. Los resultados sugieren que las percepciones de las participantes sobre su dominio del español facilitan la conexión que sienten con su herencia cultural. Estos hallazgos resaltan las formas en que la construcción y negociación de la identidad de las participantes se relacionan con la discriminación lingüística, la inseguridad lingüística y las prácticas lingüísticas. 

    Despite the studies on Spanish in the United States carried out over the last several decades in various parts of the country, the perspectives of Spanish speakers on the Central Coast of California have been underexplored. This investigation examines the case studies of three college students of Mexican descent residing on the Central Coast of California, from three different generations, focusing on their family, school, and social experiences. The results suggest that participants’ perceptions of their Spanish proficiency facilitate the connection they feel to their cultural heritage. These findings highlight the ways in which participants’ identity construction and negotiation relate to linguistic discrimination, linguistic insecurity, and language practices.

    ¿Cuáles son las perspectivas de tres latinas de diferentes generaciones lingüísticas en la Costa Central de California con respecto a la importancia cultural del español, las presiones que sienten para reemplazar el español con el inglés y el mantenimiento del español?

    What are the perspectives of three latinas of different linguistic generations on the Central Coast of California with regard to the cultural importance of Spanish, the pressures they feel to replace Spanish with English, and the maintenance of Spanish?

  • Gabi Dobrzynska & Hannah Fulton

    Japanese and American College Students’ Perceptions on Interracial and International Relationships
    Advisors: Dr. Yoshiko Saito-Abbott and Dr. Shigeko Sekine


    Throughout the world, both interracial and international relationships have gradually increased over time. While this has been quite common in America due to interculturalization, these relationships have also been on the rise in Japan as well, going against the stereotype of Japan as a “homogenous” country. For our capstone, we wanted to understand how this generation of college students perceive and accept these relationships, as well as what factors influence these relationships in both Japan and the United States. Based on the survey results, we found that American students have more experience with and acceptance of interracial and international relationships compared to Japanese students. While both groups of students perceive these relationships as positive or neutral, American students are more open to dating someone of a different race and have more support from their families. Both groups indicated similar levels of social approval, and they prioritize personality and supportiveness/empathy in relationships. Cultural differences, language barriers, and long distance are seen as the biggest challenges in interracial relationships for both sides. At the same time, exposure to different cultures and increased understanding are perceived as key benefits. This shows that there is greater social acceptance of these relationships in the United States than in Japan. Due to formal societal and cultural dynamics, it is possible that Japanese students feel greater pressure for social approval on their personal relationship decisions in order to fit in and not stand out.


    1. 日米の大学生は、異人種間恋愛や国際恋愛をどのように認識しているのか。
    2. 異人種間恋愛や国際恋愛に対する認識に影響を与える要因は何か。

    Research Questions: 

    1. To what extent are Japanese and American college students accepting of interracial relationships, meaning people of multiple differing ethnicities or races in a relationship?
    2. What are the factors that influence their perceptions towards interracial & international relationships?

Awards 2:30-3:00

☀☀ Indicates recognition of Outstanding Capstone Award


Mission: The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS) empowers students to critically examine their place in the world: to imagine, to communicate, to collaborate, to create, and to transform. Our graduates are engaged global citizens ready for the realities of the 21st century. They apply values, interdisciplinary knowledge and skills to provide creative and socially-responsible solutions for the future.