Nisha Kale is a USC undergraduate student who is double majoring in Neuroscience and Law, History, and Culture.
The DEFY Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship allowed her to apply her interests in both neuroscience and history to the field of genocide studies. She did so by examining survivors’ reactions to stress —not after the genocide, as most similar research focuses on, but while the genocide was actually occurring. To do so, she watched testimonies from the Holocaust, Rwandan and Armenian collections in the Visual History Archive, looking for interviewees’ descriptions of particularly stressful events such as killings, beatings, forced marches and mass executions, and observing how the survivors described reacting to these events as they were happening. In her analysis she found that men had a higher rate of fight or flight responses, and women had a higher rate of and befriend responses in the contexts she was exploring.