Monica Perales is a nationally published poet, a research honors student, and a leader in the Merced County Project 10%. Monica is one of three students in the inaugural class of the English honors program, for which she is spending her senior year completing an original 75-page research thesis. The project is supervised by Dr. Taryn Hakala, and focuses on Valerie Martin’s novel Mary Reilly (1990), Stephen King’s novel Gerald’s Game (1992), and their film adaptations. Drawing on Foucault’s concept of surveillance, Monica uses feminist, narrative and film theory to enter current critical conversations about the Gothic and postmodern horror.
Monica has already completed a number of other original research projects, including a provocative study of white collar crime that was published in the UC Merced Undergraduate Research Journal. She has also published original poetry in the leading creative writing journal for UC Merced undergraduates, The Vernal Pool, and in a national publication, California’s Best Emerging Poets: An Anthology. Monica is a prominent force in several UC Merced service initiatives, a fact that has already been honored when she won the University Friends Circle’s Distinguished Volunteer Scholarship in 2017. Since August, she has been the one of the lead interns at UC-Merced’s Community Engagement Center, where she has initiated collaborations with Principals and Superintendents throughout Merced County, works to connect student volunteers with community organizations, and leads training sessions for recruited volunteers. She’s been particularly active in Merced County schools, working with the Merced County Project 10% since spring 2016. The Merced County Project 10% is a student leadership initiative designed to raise high school graduation rates in Merced County by 10% over a 5-year period by engaging with eighth graders in classroom visits. In her two years as part of this initiative, Monica has presented to over 1500 students, sharing with them her own stories about overcoming barriers to get an education.
Monica is an undergraduate student majoring in English and minoring in Writing, and will be graduating with honors in Spring 2018.