Brittany Mondragon, a second-year graduate student majoring in history, took first place in the Humanities, Arts & Letters category at the 36th annual California State University Student Research Competition.

Mondragon, who will graduate on May 20 from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences with a master’s degree in history, won the CSU’s top honors with her thesis, “Flora’s Fourth Child.”

The thesis examines the intersectionality of race, gender and botany in the British Colonial Atlantic during the eighteenth century through an examination of enslaved women’s appropriations and management, their use of ethnobotanical medicines, and the power relations that underpin their portrayal as witchcraft practitioners.

Mondragon was one of 11 CSUSB students who were selected for the CSU statewide competition, held April 29-30 and hosted virtually by San Francisco State. She was mentored by Tiffany Jones, history department chair and professor, and Jeremy Murray, associate professor of history.

Jones praised Mondragon for her dedication.

“Ms. Mondragon is one of our brightest and most hard-working graduate students in our program and highly deserving of the first place award,” said Jones. “Her work is an impressive analysis of primary sources and gives voice to women of color’s knowledge that was so often negated in the colonial process.”

Mondragon’s focus is on environmental history, scientific history, colonialism and trade. She graduated from the University of Redlands with a master’s degree in geographic information systems.