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City Club of Eugene: UO Undergraduate Research: Fruit Flies, Missing Persons and Ecosystem Stewardship

City Club of Eugene

Program date: March 3, 2023

Air date: march 6, 2023

From The City Club of Eugene:

Why do some neurons grow up to manage burn injuries and others to manage toes? Why is the disappearance or murder of some people reported much less accurately than others? Are there strategies for negotiating land use decisions that give appropriate weight to legitimate competing interests? These are some of the questions that piqued the curiosity of three undergraduate researchers at the University of Oregon. Working with senior scholars on the faculty, students delved in the data and immersed themselves in the social and political factors that affect our lives as humans who share habitats on this planet.

At great universities, students don’t only absorb ready-made knowledge—they help make it! And the UO’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Engagement helps them. In this program, a few students will talk about their work.


Jess Gladis, ’23, has always been fascinated by how glaciers have shaped diverse human relationships with landscapes and places over time, and how in turn these relationships adapt in response to land use and climate change. A member of the Glacier Lab, she received the Ice and Environmental Justice Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Just Futures Institute. Her research project is “An Axiological Approach to Collaborative Ecosystem Stewardship in the Nisqually Watershed,” near the Puget Sound in Washington. This work uses methods from three fields in philosophy: axiology, hermeneutics, and phenomenology. It sparked her interest in environmental conflict resolution and the role values have in igniting and mediating disputes over natural resources. In addition to academics, Jess invests free time in community organizing and activism. She works with several groups both on and off campus, developing mutual aid projects and forums for political discourse. Her goal is to empower people to make communities and related institutions more equitable and just.

Feruza Legass, ’23, is a first-generation college student with a passion for advocacy. She aims to be a voice for those who do not have the resources and ability to advocate for themselves. Her research project is “The Unseen Numbers: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Black Women.” On campus, she maintains a 3.8 GPA while working as an Outreach Coordinator at the UO Multicultural Center and serving as an events coordinator for Black Women of Achievement. She has a passion for the arts as well, acting as a model whose image was featured on the cover of a local fashion magazine. She hopes to one day to hold public office, making good use of her passions, goals, and identity. She enjoys her education, as well as running, thrifting, and putting together Lego sets.

Tyler Ramos, ’23, is a senior majoring in Human Physiology and minoring in chemistry and creative writing. In the research lab of Professor Chris Doe, Tyler studies neuronal development in the optic lobe of the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). The goal of his project, “The Role of Proteins in Neuron Development,” is to uncover the mechanisms that cause neurons to develop with distinct characteristics. In addition to conducting research, Tyler serves as the senior poetry editor for Unbound Journal, UO’s literary arts magazine, where he reviews student submissions of poetry, prose, and visual art for digital publication. In his free time, he can be found reading and writing poetry, rock climbing, and attempting to cook his grandmother’s recipes.

About the City Club of Eugene:

The mission of the City Club of Eugene is to build community vision through open inquiry. The Club explores a wide range of significant local, state, and national issues and helps to formulate new approaches and solutions to problems. Membership is open to all, and Club members have a direct influence on public policy by discussing issues of concern with elected officials and other policy makers. The City Club’s mailing address is PO Box 12084, Eugene, OR 97440, and its website is cityclubofeugene.org.

Video and Broadcast

This program will be live streamed, and the videotape will be made available on the City Club of Eugene’s Facebook page and You Tube Channel, in addition to our website. It will be broadcast on Monday, March 6 at 7:00 pm, on KLCC 89.7 FM.

Contact: For more information, contact City Club of Eugene at(541) 485-7433, administrator@cityclubofeugene.org

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