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CSU-Faculty-Staff-Honored-for-Outstanding-Contributions-to-Student-Success-.aspx
  
1/18/2019 9:03 AMSalvador, Christianne1/18/20191/18/2019 10:50 AMThe CSU will honor four faculty and one staff member with the prestigious Wang Family Excellence Awards for their extraordinary commitment to student achievement and exemplary contributions in their respective fields. Press Release

The California State University (CSU) will honor four faculty and one staff member with the prestigious Wang Family Excellence Awards for their extraordinary commitment to student achievement and exemplary contributions in their respective fields. The honorees will be recognized on Tuesday, January 22, at a regularly scheduled meeting of the CSU Board of Trustees.

"Student success is at the core of our mission, and these members of the faculty and staff have gone above and beyond by demonstrating an unwavering commitment to transforming the lives of our students," said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. "Thanks to Stanley Wang's longstanding and continued generosity, we are able to shine a spotlight on the stellar work of five student-centered members of the CSU community each year and help them to continue their important contributions in their fields of expertise."

The Wang Family Excellence Award was originally established in 1998, and recognizes and celebrates CSU faculty members who have distinguished themselves through ground-breaking achievements in their academic disciplines and who have an enormous impact on students through high-quality instruction. The award also acknowledges a staff member whose contributions significantly exceed expectations in their appropriate area at the university. As part of their recognition, honorees will each receive a $20,000 award that is established through a gift from CSU Trustee Emeritus Stanley T. Wang and administered through the CSU Foundation.  The five awardees include:

  • Guadalupe X. Ayala, San Diego State University (School of Public Health), Outstanding Faculty Scholarship: Ayala is a distinguished researcher of health disparities whose work utilizes leading-edge methodologies to improve the lives and well-being of California communities. She develops and adapts evidence-based interventions to reduce Latino health disparities in obesity, diabetes and asthma. Ayala promotes multidisciplinary research and is a mentor to SDSU faculty.
  • Thomas Fowler, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Department of Architecture), Outstanding Faculty Teaching: Fowler has played a major role in shaping Cal Poly's top ranked architecture program for more than 23 years. He is nationally recognized as an influential innovator in the field of architectural education and for exemplary teaching that inspires students. In addition to his work as a professor and the director of the Graduate Architecture program, Fowler exposes his students to unique opportunities that give them hands-on and global learning experiences.
  • Stephen P. Mezyk, California State University, Long Beach (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry), Outstanding Faculty Innovator in Student Success: Mezyk brings 30 years of research experience studying radiation- and radical-induced chemistry. For more than 18 years, he has taught undergraduate and graduate students at Cal State Long Beach. Mezyk created a student-centered program that includes advisement, early assessment, active learning, supplemental instruction, participation in research and publication, and continuous mentoring for more than 600 students. The program's intentional focus is credited with leading to an increase in student pass rates of more than 15% and facilitating student achievement.
  • Julia E. Curry Rodriguez, San José State University (Department of Chicano & Chicana Studies), Outstanding Faculty Service: Rodriguez demonstrates an impressive commitment to service on behalf of students and the San José community. In addition to her teaching, research and scholarship, she has worked tirelessly over her nearly two decades to provide access to and support for the success of undocumented students seeking their education in the CSU. She raises funds for student scholarships and financial aid through opportunities for speaking and grants. She's also increased local and national awareness of the contributions of immigrants to our society.
  • Lori Beth Way, San Francisco State University (Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning), Outstanding Staff Performance: Way has created an environment in which faculty, staff and administrators work together to streamline and improve curriculum to better serve students and to critically examine practices with an eye toward continuous improvement. She leads the campus' Student Success and Graduation Initiative and the restructuring and rebuilding of SFSU's academic advising services.

Through Graduation Initiative 2025, the CSU is working to increase graduation rates for all CSU students while eliminating opportunity and achievement gaps. Last fall, the CSU announced that graduation rates for first-time freshmen and transfer students reached all-time highs and equity gaps between students from historically underserved communities and other students narrowed. In 2018, CSU students earned a total of 105,431 bachelor's degrees, representing an all-time high.

The CSU Board of Trustees meeting will be held at the CSU Chancellor's Office, 401 Golden Shore, Long Beach, CA 90802. For more information on the Wang Family Excellence Awards recipients and their accomplishments, visit: https://www2.calstate.edu/csu-system/faculty-staff/wang-award/Pages/default.aspx.

# # #

About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of four-year higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, 52,000 faculty and staff and 481,000 students. Half of the CSU's students transfer from California community colleges. Created in 1960, the mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of California. With its commitment to quality, opportunity, and student success, the CSU is renowned for superb teaching, innovative research and for producing job-ready graduates. Each year, the CSU awards more than 125,000 degrees. One in every 20 Americans holding a college degree is a graduate of the CSU and our alumni are 3.7 million strong. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU NewsCenter.

CSU Faculty, Staff Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Student Success
CSU-Online-Programs-Wired-for-Success.aspx
  
1/15/2019 10:04 AMRuble, Alisia1/15/20191/15/2019 9:30 AMU.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of online degree programs highlight CSU campuses as some of the best in the nation.Online EducationStory
Online programs at California State University campuses are among the best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2019 Best Online Programs rankings released January 15.

U.S. News & World Report rated online bachelor's and graduate programs across the country based on their student engagement, student services and technology, and faculty credentials and training.

The publication recognized programs at 10 CSU campuses: Chico, Dominguez Hills, East Bay, Fullerton, Long Beach, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo and Stanislaus. 

Graduate programs at Fullerton, Long Beach, San Bernardino, San Diego and San Luis Obispo ranked among the top 50 nationally in categories including business, criminal justice, education and engineering.

U.S. News & World Report evaluates distance education programs at the program level rather than the school level. This year, more than 1,500 programs for bachelor's degrees as well as graduate programs in engineering, business, computer information technology, criminal justice, education, and nursing were evaluated.

2019 U.S. News & World Report best online programs with rankings in parentheses:

Bachelor's
Dominguez Hills (84)
Chico (217)
East Bay (217)

Graduate Business
Fullerton (15)
Sacramento (57)
San Bernardino (114)

Graduate Criminal Justice
Long Beach (30)
San Bernardino (30)

Graduate Education
San Diego (25)
Fullerton (38)
East Bay (148)

Graduate Engineering
Fullerton (26)
San Luis Obispo (43)

Graduate Nursing
Dominguez Hills (121)
Chico (132)

MBA
San Bernardino (101)
Stanislaus (119)
Dominguez Hills (162)

Online Degree Programs Help Address State’s Degree Gap

The CSU currently offers 229 online degree programs across its 23 campuses. This includes 74 bachelor’s degree programs, 148 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degree programs. 

Online degree programs provide students the flexibility to take courses whenever and wherever best fits their circumstances. They give non-traditional students who may be unable to attend college in the traditional setting due to barriers including work schedules and proximity to campus the opportunity to receive a quality education.

These benefits make online degree programs an important tool for the CSU as the university seeks to meet its Graduation Initiative 2025 goals and produce its share of the 1.1 million college graduates California needs to address its looming degree gap.

As CSU campuses continue to expand online degree options, the university is committed to strengthening quality online teaching and learning. The CSU offers services and resources—such as Quality Matters™ and Quality Online Learning and Teaching—to faculty and instructional designers to maintain quality control and ensure students are successful in these courses. 

To learn more about how the CSU’s online programs are meeting students where they are and creating pathways to a degree, visit the website for Cal State Online
CSU Online Programs Wired for Success
The-Fires-of-2018.aspx
  
1/15/2019 9:10 AMSua, Ricky1/15/20191/15/2019 8:00 AMAfter California’s devastating fire season, leading CSU experts weigh in on how our people and land are recovering.CaliforniaStory
Understanding Fire Hero Image

The Fires of 2018: What Happens Now?

Following one of the most devastating wildfire seasons in California history, the students, faculty and staff of the California State University are still coming to terms with the magnitude of the loss and the impact on our people.

While we deepen our understanding of the ever-lengthening and more extreme fire season across the state, the difficult truth is that no one can completely prepare for this kind of catastrophic event. Almost certainly, the CSU will need to continue to draw on the strength of the people within our 23-campus system, coming together to support one another and the surrounding communities in times of crisis.

Read on to learn more from leading CSU experts about California's biggest wildfire challenges and how our people and land are recovering from the devastating fires of 2018.

How the Fires Affected the CSU

The Camp Fire started on November 8, 2018, in Northern California's Butte County, home to California State University, Chico. Campus leaders closed the campus from November 9 through November 25, and residents of some surrounding communities were ordered to evacuate. While no university structures burned, hundreds of staff, students and faculty members lost their homes. (A number of other CSU campus were also temporarily closed due to poor air quality from the Camp Fire, including Cal Maritime, CSU East Bay, Sacramento State, San Francisco State, San José State, Stanislaus State and Sonoma State.) By the time the fire was contained on November 25, it had burned over 150,000 acres and destroyed more than 17,000 buildings across the county—the majority of those homes. The town of Paradise and adjacent Concow communities were hardest hit.

Also on November 8, the Hill Fire began in Ventura County, where California State University Channel Islands is situated. Officials closed the campus on November 8 due to a mandatory evacuation order, although the 4,500-acre Hill Fire only came within three miles of campus at its nearest point. Further away, the larger Woolsey Fire (which began the same day) destroyed 1,500 structures in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, burning more than 90,000 acres in total.

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Before: Courtesy of Google After: Courtesy of Jason Halley/Chico State

Before: courtesy of Google Street View; after: courtesy of Jason Halley/Chico State

Helping the Healing

"We've always had a very strong sense of community in Butte County, but I've noticed after being evacuated myself that the fire seems to have brought more of that out," says Don Hankins, Ph.D., professor of geography and planning at Chico State, speaking of the Camp Fire. Here are some of the ways people and communities affected by this year's wildfires are helping one another to heal:

1. By being there. One of the best ways to help someone dealing with loss after the wildfires is simply to be present. "Whether it's listening or providing meals or housing, gestures like this come from within the community fairly easily in this area," says Dr. Hankins, adding that people can also consider making a donation to the Wildcats Rise Fire Recovery Fund.

2. By recognizing that grief takes different forms. "A lot of healing has taken place and a lot will still happen," says Sean Murphy, media relations coordinator at Chico State. "We see people grieving in very different ways, so as a campus we need to be really cognizant of that. The care needs to continue—it's not done yet." A survey sent to the campus's students and employees in the days after the fire found that more than 310 people lost their homes. Hankins is also concerned about a psychological condition known as ecological grief, in which people grieve when their land changes drastically, such as after a fire or even the removal of a tree from their property. "Obviously, there's an ecological impact when the landscape changes, but there's also a psychological impact … It's a source of trauma," he explains.

3. By giving communities time to recover too. "The thing I'm most concerned about is community resilience. Our communities are resilient—but to a point," says Sean Anderson, Ph.D., chair and professor of the Environmental Science and Resources Management (ESRM) program at CSU Channel Islands. Previous wildfire disasters show that recovery can be slow; Dr. Anderson's survey following the 2017 Thomas Fire found that 45 percent of respondents were significantly impacted during and immediately after the fires. One year later, about 15 percent still didn't feel they had recovered.

4. By preparing students and staff for next time. Anderson knows the stress his students face, which is why he's encouraging them to seek out counseling and support services offered at CSUCI. For faculty, "there's no handbook on this, in terms of how you deal with this," he says, but he suggests that professors and lecturers consider creating an extra lesson or two that students could complete online, in case a future emergency throws a wrench into class schedules. At Chico State, psychology professor and licensed therapist Kyle Horst, Ph.D. prepared a guide to help faculty in supporting students; it's available on the campus's fire updates page.

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Lending a Hand to Chico State

The Camp, Hill and Woolsey fires affected five CSU campuses, but none more than Chico State. During the crisis, the CSU showcased its remarkable teamwork by sending in personnel from across the system to aid the campus's university police department: Fifteen CSU campuses sent personnel and 37 CSU employees were deployed: 32 sworn campus police officers, two lieutenants and a dispatcher, police chief, and communications manager.

The officers conducted preventative patrols to keep the peace, responded to calls on the Chico campus, and performed evacuations and search-and-locate services within the fire perimeter. "The support we received during the hours after the Camp Fire began was a true testament to the strength of the CSU community," says John Reid, chief of University Police at Chico State. "I'd especially like to thank our sister campus police officers who stopped everything they were doing to travel to Chico and lend a hand."

From Scorched Earth to 'Greening Up'

When a wildfire tears through an area, it's a given that smoke fills the air and ash covers the landscape and may be carried into waterways. But the sheer number of homes that burned in the Camp Fire released what may be an unprecedented amount of contaminants, says Jackson Webster, Ph.D., assistant professor of civil engineering at Chico State, who studies wildfires' impact on water systems.

"There hasn't been a comprehensive study looking at large-scale urban burning on contaminant transport. In this scenario, it's really a big unknown," explains Dr. Webster. He and colleagues have teamed up with the campus's Center for Water and Environment (CWE) to conduct post-fire research into the impact on local water sources.

When electronics, vehicles and chemicals like pesticides and solvents burn, they may release toxins into the ground, which post-fire rains can carry into waterways. The most worrisome contaminants include heavy metals like mercury and organic chemicals such as black carbon, which can have implications for water treatment downstream, says Webster. His biggest concern: potential contamination of the watersheds of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which provide high-quality drinking water for many California residents and for agriculture.

Civil engineering professor Dr. Jackson Webster tests water in the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve. He and colleagues are collecting data to measure the impact of the Camp Fire on the area's water systems. 

Further south in L.A. and Ventura counties, the Woolsey Fire has left its mark as well. CSU Channel Islands' Dr. Sean Anderson and his students are already busy surveying burn areas with drones (using citizen science mobile phone apps to document harmed wildlife) and sampling beach sediment after the fires to quantify the environmental impact.

They will also monitor waterways to detect microplastic debris, which can be released into the environment after a wildfire burns urban areas. Similar to ash, when plastics burn, small particles (less than five millimeters) of plastic may float through the air and deposit into streams and water bodies or be washed into waterways after a storm. There's still much research to be done here, but Anderson believes that microplastics could provide researchers with an accurate, time-saving and cost-effective way to measure the amount of pollution an urbanized watershed receives after a fire.

An increased risk for landslides and mudslides also concerns those who study the aftermath of fires. The U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) preliminary hazard assessments of the Camp and Woolsey fires show a greater probability of debris flow after a rainstorm in some of the Woolsey burn areas, due in part to the topography of the land and the types of vegetation.

Binod Tiwari, Ph.D., associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at CSU Fullerton, studies landslides and mudslides in California and globally. His students are now researching the effects of rainfall on soil in the state's burn areas; their work could eventually make it easier to accurately predict mudslides after a fire.

When it comes to trees and vegetation in wildfire, survival or regrowth depends on many variables, explains Dr. Don Hankins, who's also field director of Chico State's nearly 4,000-acre Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve (BCCER) and an expert in fire ecology. In Butte County, he expects many of the deciduous (non-evergreen) oaks will survive because they were already becoming dormant for the season, which improves their resiliency to heat stress. So come spring 2019, many will be sprouting leaves and growing like normal, he says.

Just three weeks after the fire, Hankins was already seeing grasslands "green up," as he calls it. "Generally speaking, nature is incredibly resilient. We can throw the worst at it and it seems to be able to resolve things for itself," he says, noting that he is concerned about the possible effects of fire on the wild Chinook salmon in the Sacramento Valley, a population in peril.

But most wildlife find, somehow, a way to survive. "Two days after the fire, I heard the songbirds in a landscape that looked like a nuclear bomb had gone off. If these resilient birds can make it, it'll be okay."

Drone 1 photo

Dr. Sean Anderson's students employ a variety of data collection methods for their post-fire research, including drone mapping of burn areas. Images courtesy of CSU Channel Islands

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Anderson (right) and an Environmental Science and Resources Management student flying a drone to survey a burn area after the 2017 Thomas Fire.

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Dr. Anderson and his students are monitoring waterways for the presence of microplastic debris from urban fires.

Rising from the Ashes

"After the fire, it just makes you want to double down on your work," says Eli Goodsell, manager at BCCER, who even sees a silver lining to this devastation: greater opportunity for educating students and the public about maintaining the health of the state's forests. 

"The CSU is in a position to lead that next generation of land managers, with boots on the ground—whether foresters, ecologists, fire professionals, agency administrators, utility company employees or university faculty," says the Chico State alumnus, who was born in Paradise and went to high school there.

Here's what Goodsell and other experts at the California State University say will help lessen the impact of future fires on both people and property:

Prepare skilled workers to care for our forests. Student interns and staff are out on the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve every day, says Goodsell, working the land, thinning vegetation and learning about wildfire mitigation tactics. "It's a win-win for our students and our community," he notes, adding that BCCER will soon introduce a community education program and is exploring innovative ways to prepare Chico State graduates to become future leaders in forest health and fire management.

"The CSU is in a position to lead the next generation of fire professionals, land managers and foresters with boots on the ground."

—Eli Goodsell, manager at Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve, Chico State

If you're a homeowner, maintain a fire-safe property. "You can't have your house look real pretty if you want it to survive a fire," says Craig Clements, Ph.D., director of the San José State University's Fire Weather Research Laboratory and associate professor of meteorology and climate science. Clear away all the vegetation or dried fuel (such as pine needles, dead leaves and firewood) from at least 30 feet around your home; this is called creating a defensible space. If a house has a big tree hanging over the roof, firefighters might not even try to save it during a wildfire event, cautions Dr. Clements.

Support community fire-safe awareness programs. "There are these teachable moments right after the wildfire and those six months after, where people remember being evacuated, they remember the threat, so they are more incentivized to actually do something about it and learn about it," explains Wade Martin, Ph.D., professor of economics at California State University, Long Beach and co-author of Wildfire Risk: Human Perceptions and Natural Implications.

Hankins is the board secretary for the Butte County Fire Safe Council and a member of the Forest Ranch Fire Safe Council, organizations that increase awareness of fire risk and encourage community members to work together on wildfire preparedness and landscape resilience, including stewardship with prescribed fire (also called controlled burns).

Membership is typically open to any resident of a community and the councils are often supported through charitable contributions and grants. For communities in high-risk wildfire areas, hyper-vigilant citizens and fire-safe education are critical. 

Rising 1 photo

Dr. Chris Dicus, wildland fuels and fire management professor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, shows fire ecology students the recovery of a former wildfire burn area.

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Goats are used to help thin vegetation—and mitigate fuels for potential wildfire—at the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve.

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Mitch Bamford, Chico State biology master's student and land steward at BCCER, participates in a prescribed fire on the reserve.

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Dr. Don Hankins points to signs of resilience in a tree where a prescribed burn passed through.

The CSU's 23 campuses touch nearly every part of California, and so, unfortunately, does wildfire. As a system that serves the state's citizens, we are incentivized to find solutions as quickly as possible.

"As the most geographically dispersed educational system in one of the most populous states in the country, we really do span all of the risk zones—urban, rural, coastal, valley," says Dr. Sean Anderson of CSU Channel Islands. "How do we rebuild after these natural disasters that are only becoming more intense?"

"The aftermath of these devastating fires will inform our planning and public policy in the future," adds Anderson. "And the role of the CSU will be to help facilitate that. The CSU is well positioned, given that we are so geo-dispersed, to provide more data to help inform decision makers."

Studying Fire at the CSU

California's need for well-trained fire and land managers and fire science and meteorology specialists continues to grow as the state improves its wildfire management strategies. The CSU offers bachelor's and master's degree programs in a broad range of fire-related disciplines at several campuses.

In addition, the CSU is talking to state and municipal organizations about creating educational pathways for fire and emergency services personnel who want to pursue a college degree. They may be able to receive college credit for professional training they've already received and "pathways like these would integrate with industry certification, too," says Sheila Thomas, Ed.D., assistant vice chancellor and dean of Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE) at the CSU Chancellor's Office in Long Beach.

While there are many disciplines, including geography and geographic information systems (GIS) that intersect with wildfire policy or management, there are a number of programs specifically focused on fire across the CSU:  

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
B.S. – Forestry & Natural Resources (Wildland Fire and Fuels Management)
M.S. - Fire Protection Engineering (online)

Cal State LA
B.S. – Fire Protection Administration and Technology

CSU San Marcos
B.S. – Wildfire Science and the Urban Interface (online)

Humboldt State
B.S. – Forestry (Wildland Fire Management)

San José State
B.S. - Meteorology
M.S. – Meteorology (fire weather and wildfire dynamics)

This article is the fourth and final in our series on the California State University's role in understanding, preventing and fighting California's devastating wildfires. Read our previous coverage on the CSU’s role in understanding fire to better predict and prevent it; get to know a dedicated wildland fire crew  comprised mostly of CSU students and alumni; and meet a Humboldt State student who is blazing her own trail and career in fire.

Story: Hazel Kelly

PHOTO CREDIT: (GOATS) JESSICA BARTLETT/CHICO STATE

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The Fires of 2018: What Happens Now?
CSU-Funding-Priorities-Supported-in-Governors-2019-20-Budget-Proposal.aspx
  
1/10/2019 11:30 AMSalvador, Christianne1/10/20191/10/2019 11:15 AM​The $300 million in funding for the CSU proposed by Governor Newsom will allow CSU to provide increased access to a high-quality education to more qualified students, continue to improve student achievement and reduce equity gaps.BudgetPress Release

The $300 million ongoing increase in funding for the California State University (CSU) proposed by Governor Newsom will allow CSU to provide increased access to a high-quality education to more qualified students, continue to improve student achievement and reduce equity gaps.

"In his first budget proposal, Governor Newsom reflects his commitment to reinvesting in higher education and the California State University," said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. "This marks the single largest proposed investment by any governor in the history of the university, and we are extremely appreciative of Governor Newsom's bold investment in us.

"Previous investments are paying off as student success across the CSU has never been higher. With the fifth largest economy in the world, California continues to reap the benefits of those investments. Many of the more than 125,000 people who earn degrees from a CSU campus every year go on to become leaders in industry and their California communities.

"Governor Newsom called for Californians to prove that people of good faith and firm will can still come together to achieve big things. The CSU is the key to the state's future, and there is no better investment for the California he envisions. We look forward to working with the governor and his administration to achieve his goals of a California for all."

In his January 2019-20 budget proposal, Governor Newsom proposed an ongoing increase of $300 million for the CSU to fund Graduation Initiative 2025, enrollment growth and employee compensation and mandatory costs.

The governor is also proposing one-time allocations of $247 million to assist the university in addressing a growing backlog of maintenance for aging facilities across the 23 campuses, and $15 million to help support the basic needs of students.

# # #

About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of four-year higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, 52,000 faculty and staff and 481,000 students. Half of the CSU's students transfer from California community colleges. Created in 1960, the mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of California. With its commitment to quality, opportunity, and student success, the CSU is renowned for superb teaching, innovative research and for producing job-ready graduates. Each year, the CSU awards more than 125,000 degrees. One in every 20 Americans holding a college degree is a graduate of the CSU and our alumni are 3.7 million strong. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU NewsCenter.

CSU Funding Priorities Supported in Governor's 2019-20 Budget Proposal
CSU-Rankings-and-Recognition-2018-in-Review.aspx
  
12/17/2018 8:17 AMRuble, Alisia12/13/201812/13/2018 10:00 AMTake a look back at highlights from 2018: A year that saw the CSU receive significant recognition for providing students with opportunities for upward mobility.Social MobilityStory
California State University campuses are consistently lauded for their academic excellence, degree value and contributions to the public good. Take a look back at highlights from the past year, during which the CSU received nods from accredited national university rankings, media outlets and community partners for providing students with opportunities for upward mobility on a large scale.

Social Mobility

The Social Mobility Index developed by PayScale and CollegeNET listed all 23 CSU campuses within the top quartile of the nation’s universities for helping low-income students find financial success—with 11 campuses in the top 20.

Washington Monthly recognized 21 CSU campuses in its annual rankings—with seven campuses placing in the top 25 among master's institutions. Cal Maritime also ranked sixth nationally among bachelor's universities. Fresno, Fullerton, San Diego and San Francisco were included among "National Universities"—with Fresno State placing in the top 25 in this category.

Value

Eighteen campuses were named to Forbes’ list of America’s Top Colleges for providing students with opportunities that lead to successful lives and careers. Forbes also listed 17 CSU campuses in its list of the nation’s Best Value Colleges—with San Luis Obispo among the top 10 schools that had the most success with upward mobility.

Twenty-two CSU campuses were named to Money magazine’s Best Colleges For Your Money ranking, which identifies more than 700 leading U.S. institutions whose educations are worth the cost. Money also named 12 CSU campuses to its list of the nation’s Top 50 Best Public Colleges, which examines 26 measures of affordability, educational quality and alumni’s financial success. 

In PayScale’s 2018 Best Value Colleges report, 12 CSU campuses ranked among the nation’s top 100 public universities when it comes to return on investment for in-state tuition. Among public universities, Maritime ranks eighth in the nation and San Luis Obispo ranks 15th.

Student Achievement

In addition to rankings and media outlets, partners and other parties have acknowledged the CSU’s recent success in improving student achievement. The university's Graduation Initiative 2025 has received acclaim for efforts to close equity gaps between underserved students and their peers and improve graduation rates. Recently announced figures show success in reaching those goals.

The Public Policy Institute of California released a study on the integral role higher education plays in the state’s economic health in which Graduation Initiative 2025 progress was highlighted. The institute applauded the CSU for progress in increasing access and improving graduation rates while undertaking serious efforts to narrow equity gaps. By their calculations, the CSU is on track to meet its goal of producing an additional 500,000 graduates by 2025.

The final 2018-19 state budget included continued funding for Graduation Initiative 2025, acknowledging that “previous investments in the Initiative have already demonstrated early success, such as increasing the four-year graduation rate for first-time freshmen from 19 percent to 23 percent.”

For more highlights of the CSU’s impact on student success, visit our rankings and recognition page.
2018 in Review: CSU Campuses Recognized for Opportunity and Value
the-fuels-of-the-future.aspx
  
12/19/2018 10:58 AMParch, Lorie12/13/201812/13/2018 12:00 AMNo one can say for certain what will power our vehicles in the decades to come, but CSU faculty offer some very educated guesses.CaliforniaStory

the fuels of the future

No one can say for certain what will power our vehicles in the decades to come, but CSU faculty can offer some very educated guesses.

Right now, California runs on a combination of fossil fuels and, to a far lesser extent, sustainable alternatives like electric vehicles (EV) and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCV). The future of fuel remains to be seen, but faculty experts at the California State University, along with the students who work with them, are diligently researching the next level of clean fuels that will keep the state’s people and economy moving ahead while helping to protect California's natural resources.

(Read the previous installations on fuel in our series on transportation, “Moving California Ahead,” to find out how the CSU is making fossil fuels a little cleaner and paving the way for even better electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.)

NEXT-LEVEL EV: CHARGE-AS-YOU-GO

Even if electric vehicles (EV) didn’t continue to improve, they're still good enough right now to become Americans' car of choice, says San José State University Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering Mohamed Badawy, Ph.D.

But EV will get better, of course. A lot better. Specifically, “customers are looking for shorter charging periods compared to what we have right now,” notes Dr. Badawy, who says in the near future a family may decide to buy different kinds of EVs—one for trips closer to home and another with a longer range for, say, a long work commute.

One of the most exciting developments Badawy has seen is wireless charging. “Imagine that there’s a parking lot and all you have to do is just park your car, go get your groceries and come back and find your vehicle has been charged,” he says. “So I don’t need to connect the cable to my vehicle, I don’t need to go to a charging station ... underneath my parked car there’s a transmitter coil that’s going to keep charging my vehicle.”

If that's not next-level enough for you, how about this: dynamic charging. “The idea is very similar to wireless charging, but with wireless charging you need your car to be stationary at a certain point so it gets charged,” explains Badawy, who directs SJSU’s Center of Power Electronic Converters Laboratory and will soon start research in this field. “The idea of dynamic charging is that chargers are underneath the road, so that while you’re actually moving, you’re charging your vehicle. It’s more like San Francisco cable cars, but without the cable.”

“It’s going to take more years to see it implemented,” he adds, “but the possibilities with a technology like that are endless: You don’t need to stop to charge your car, and you can make the vehicle lighter. I don’t need to build a battery with a 300-mile or 400-mile range because I’m always charging them as long as I’m on the highway.”

San José State has given Badawy and his colleagues the chance to pursue cutting-edge research, he says. "The university and our college specifically are pushing for more advancements with electric vehicles from a global initiative because they can see that this is the future and there is a real need.”

“The idea of dynamic charging is that chargers are underneath the road, so you're actually charging your vehicle while you drive." 

— Dr. Mohammed Badawy, Director, San JosÉ State's Center of Power Electronics convertors laboratory 

GROW YOUR OWN: A TRULY GREEN FUEL

Slimy. Green. Wet. When you think of algae, that’s probably what comes to mind. But where the average person sees pond scum, Dean Arakaki, Ph.D., associate professor of electrical engineering at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and a co-founder of the interdisciplinary Algae Biofuel Project, sees potential.

Dr. Arakaki and his colleagues in biological sciences and physics, respectivelyElena Keeling, Ph.D. and Jonathan Fernsler, Ph.D.are leading students in research that explores the application of electric pulses to open algae cells so they release lipids (fats) that can be refined into biofuel. “We’re developing a renewable energy source, because algae is inexpensive to culture,” says Arakaki.

WHAT’S A BIOFUEL?

A biofuel is any kind of transportation fuel made from biomass, organic material that comes from plants and animals.

  Examples of biomass include wood, garbage and crops. Transportation fuels made from biomass include ethanol, an alcohol fuel made from sugars in grains, and biodiesel, made from vegetable oils and animal fats.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration

The SLO project is sponsored by Boeing, which is investing in research into renewable energy sources to replace jet fuel—a fossil fuel. It draws students in biological sciences, food sciences, physics, and electrical engineering, encouraging them to collaborate and communicate across disciplines. The research provides hands-on experience with lab equipment, as well as the chance to share work with the wider scientific community in poster presentations at conferences.

It’s still early for this research, says Arakaki, but “a good outcome would be to definitively detect lysis [opening of the algae cell]." The researchers would then investigate whether lysis through electric fields is more cost-effective than other approaches. 


THREE MORE BIOFUELS TO WATCH

California is considered the fastest-growing market for biofuels, thanks to the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, established in 2007. It requires companies that produce “petroleum-based fuels to reduce the carbon intensity of their products” by 10 percent by 2020. These biofuels are already making inroads in California:

  Biomethane

This renewable natural gas is made from decaying organic matter such as woody biomass (the residue of dead trees, leaves, pine needles, seeds and other plants that line the forest floor), manure and food waste. Biomethane can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent to 70 percent and is typically used in medium- and heavy-duty natural gas trucks.

  Ethanol

This renewable fuel is alcohol-based and made by distilling sources such as corn, sugar cane, wheat, manure and food waste. It is the most widely available gasoline substitute and helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

  Renewable Diesel

Made from vegetable oil and other sources, renewable diesel is chemically similar to petroleum diesel and can be used in a regular diesel engine with lower emissions than petroleum diesel. In early 2018, renewable diesel made up nearly 12 percent of the net diesel supply in California—a three-fold increase from 2011. The renewable diesel “footprint” is expected to grow more than six-fold by 2021.

Source: California Energy Commission

This article is the fifth in a series on California's most pressing transportation problems and the many ways the campuses of the California State University are working to solve them. Read our previous coverage on the CSU's role in finding solutions to California's gridlock, building better roadsmaking fossil fuel production somewhat greener, and supporting the EV and hydrogen fuel cell vehicle industry. Check back for the final article in the series, which will address how the CSU is preparing a workforce in the trillion-dollar logistics industry.

Story: Lorie A. Parch

photoGRAPHY & VIDEOGRAPHY: PATRICK RECORD; courtesy of cal poly Slo

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The Fuels of the Future
betting-on-batteries.aspx
  
12/18/2018 8:56 AMParch, Lorie12/10/201812/10/2018 9:00 AMCalifornia is all in on electricity when it comes to clean transportation. But don't write off hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and others just yet. See how the CSU is keeping the state at the forefront of sustainable fuels. CaliforniaStory
electric car charging

Betting on Batteries

See how CSU faculty and students are keeping California at the forefront of sustainable fuel.

When Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 100, the 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018, in September, it mandated that all electricity generated in California by the end of 2045 must come from renewable, zero-carbon sources such as solar, wind and hydropower.

That’s an ambitious target, to put it mildly. To meet it, California had to choose which alternative fuel sources to invest in. For now at least, the state has put electricity at the top of the list for vehicles (though there’s also a commitment to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles; more on that below).

“[California] has big concerns with accelerated climate change, and also, particularly in Southern California, we have a concern with air quality,” says David Blekhman, Ph.D., a professor in the college of engineering, computer science and technology at California State University, Los Angeles and a researcher in alternate and renewable energy, fuel cells and hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs).

“Transportation pollution really has decreased significantly due to the introduction of catalysts in vehicles, but there is more we can do—and it’s a transition to clean fuels like hydrogen and electricity.”

Read on to learn more about how CSU faculty and students are helping in this important effort. (This story is the second of three on how the CSU is researching alternative fuels as part of our transportation series.)

EV Cars Charging

Electric Vehicles: The Winner (For Now)

An earlier sign of the state’s all-in commitment to electric came in January 2018, when Gov. Brown announced a $2.5 billion initiative to establish 250,000 EV-charging stations, as well as 200 hydrogen fueling stations, throughout the state by 2025. (There are currently 381 EV-charging stations at 21 CSU campuses and the Chancellor’s Office. It remains to be seen whether governor-elect Gavin Newsom will commit to the goals put in place by Brown.)

“With the current technology, EV [already] has the ability to be the primary vehicle of transportation,” says Mohamed O. Badawy, Ph.D., assistant professor of electrical engineering at San José State University and director of the Center of Power Electronics Convertors Laboratory.

There's no question that California is leading the way when it comes to EVs: “Most of the new electric vehicle companies are based in California and that should tell us something,” notes Dr. Badawy. “There are tougher regulations and standards in California than in most other states in the country and that encourages more automotive manufacturers to produce more electric vehicles.”

What’s still missing, though, is the infrastructure to fuel up. There simply aren’t enough EV-charging stations, says Badawy, who conducts research with SJSU undergraduate and graduate students on developing power electronic converters for EVs along with their charging stations.

The 23-campus CSU system has nearly 5,000 vehicles in its fleet. Since 2011, the CSU has reduced the number of vehicles powered by gasoline; 40 percent of CSU vehicles are now electric.

Sustainability in the California State University: The First Assessment of the 2014 Sustainability Policy – 2014-17

Badawy also stresses that for EVs to be a truly clean alternative to fossil fuels, the way it’s charged must be clean as well. “For a complete solution, to say that we are able to decrease our carbon dioxide emissions and the pollution in our environment, it’s not enough to just drive electric vehicles,” he notes. “It still depends on where the EV batteries are getting charged from, and that's why we also need to rely more on renewable energy systems as the main source for powering our electrical grid.”

Hydrogen Fuel Cell under the hood

Electric vehicles get most of the limelight, but hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCV) have a lot to offer, too. Right now, though, if you have an HFCV, you won’t find many options for “filling up.” There are just 35 hydrogen fueling stations open to the public in California, with 29 more in the works, according to the California Fuel Cell Partnership. (Even so, the state has more than any other in the U.S. By comparison, California has over 8,000 gas stations and nearly 5,000 places to get diesel.)

One of those stations—and in fact, the very first hydrogen fueling station in the world licensed to sell hydrogen by the kilogram to the public—is at Cal State LA. Opened in May 2014, any HFCV can fill up at the Cal State LA Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, which sits near the 10 and 710 freeways in Los Angeles.

Cal State LA’s Dr. Blekhman says HFCVs have multiple benefits: “Only water comes out of the exhaust tailpipe, and you can refuel real quickly [compared] to electric vehicles.” He notes, too, that hydrogen vehicles have a long range, so drivers can cover a lot of distance without needing to refuel. (To learn how hydrogen fuel cells power vehicles, see below.)

The Schatz Energy Research Center, Humboldt State

For Arne Jacobson, Ph.D., director of the nearly 30-year-old Schatz Energy Research Center (SERC) at Humboldt State University, hydrogen fuel cells are nothing new. “Most of the work that we did in the ‘90s was focused around hydrogen and fuel cells,” he says. “This is an area that the CSU has worked on for a long time through the work at the Schatz Center led by Dr. Peter Lehman and Dr. Charles Chamberlin.” 

Around 1997, SERC debuted the first street-legal hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in the U.S., and in 2008 the campus established its own hydrogen fueling station designed by Humboldt engineering students. These days, the Schatz Center team's work on clean transportation focuses primarily on ways to develop the fueling infrastructure for both hydrogen and electric vehicles.


How Water and Electricity Make Clean Fuel


Source: Schatz Energy Research Center
Brochure, Humboldt State

Fueling up a Hydrogen Fuel car

Fueling the first street-legal hydrogen fuel cell vehicle in the U.S.—created at Humboldt State University—at Sunline Transit, which put the vehicle into service, in Thousand Palms, California, in the late 1990s. The project involved collaboration with the city of Palm Desert, Sunline Transit and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. From left: Michael Johnston of Sunline Transit and Greg Chapman of the Schatz Energy Research Center (SERC) at Humboldt State.

Hydrogen Fuel car Team

The SERC team poses with the vehicle in 1998. From left: Greg Chapman, Lynn Reid, Ron Reid (sitting on vehicle roof), Christine Parra, Marc Marshall (behind vehicle), Jim Zoellick (inside vehicle), Ray Glover (behind vehicle), Arik Cohen, Charles Chamberlin, Peter Lehman (seated on front of vehicle), Mark Rocheleau (seated just behind Peter) and Denice McKahn.

With so few fueling stations for hydrogen fuel cell cars right now, it’s little wonder that sales for HFCVs aren’t anywhere close to that of EVs. But there is a market for these vehicles, says Dr. David Blekhman. “Forklifts are actually the most prevalent market right now,” he explains. “I would guess that around 15,000 hydrogen fuel cell forklifts are deployed in the United States. Most of them are in California. Wal-Mart, Sysco, Amazon and other corporations are using them in warehouses instead of electric.”

The benefits of HFCVs—quick refueling and no fumes—make the machines a good fit for commercial and industrial use. Similarly, says Blekhman, freight companies are looking at long-range trucks that run on hydrogen fuel cells rather than short-range electric trucks.

Blekhman believes that the industry will evolve to include both HFCVs and electric, with each used for different purposes: “I think we will have a similar situation to diesel and gasoline. Some applications are better with diesel. Some are better with gasoline engines. So they coexist.” 

Learn more about SERC’s work in transportation, hydrogen and fuel cells.

EV VS. HCFV: What's the Difference?

Toyota Prius

Electric Vehicle

How it works: Hybrid EVs combine an internal combustion engine (like a traditional gas-powered car) with a battery and an electric motor. Pure battery EVs run on electricity stored in batteries and have an electric motor.

Zero emission: EVs: yes; Hybrids: no, but emissions are typically very low

Time to charge/fuel: A full-size battery EV takes four to six hours to charge using a 220-volt charger. However, a fast-charging station can now charge a full-size EV in less than 30 minutes. For a hybrid, you can use gasoline or electricity to recharge. Using a 220-volt charger, a hybrid takes about an hour to recharge.

Range: About 70 to 300 miles for a battery EV, depending on the model; and 300 or more miles for a hybrid car in gasoline-electric mode.

Toyota Mirai

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle

How it works: A hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle is powered by a group of individual fuel cells, known as a fuel cell stack. It runs on compressed hydrogen fed into a stack, which produces electricity to power the vehicle.

Zero emission: Yes

Time to charge/fuel: 3 to 5 minutes

Range: About 300 to 400 miles per tank





Sources: DrivecleanCA.gov, California Fuel Cell Partnership

ON THE FAST TRACK:
From CAL STATE LA to General Motors

One Cal State LA project, the EcoCAR competition, in which students are challenged to make a regular car more green using alternative fuel technologies, has given Dr. David Blekhman’s students highly marketable skills.

“What employers really liked from EcoCAR students was the multiple departments involvement—electrical and mechanical engineering, computer science—all these students working together,” he says. “When employers hire these students, they already have an understanding of the vehicle and have worked in adverse conditions where they’re taking classes and then add multiple hours on this project beyond their normal load.”

Three students who recently worked on the competition, which is co-sponsored by General Motors (GM) and the U.S. Department of Energy, were offered jobs at GM a year out from graduation. “Cal State LA has been ranked number-one in social mobility,” notes Blekhman. “I’ve had students from the poorest families ... and they will be getting a higher-tier engineer’s salary with GM when they graduate. They already have a job waiting for them.”

Cal State LA’s EcoCAR3 team completed their most recent challenge in May 2018 by creating a police service-dedicated hybrid Chevrolet Camaro. 

In October 2018, the team received a 2018 Clean Air Award from the South Coast Air Quality Management District for its work in training students and educating the public about energy-efficient vehicles. They were the only university in California to participate in the competition. "The team and I truly appreciate the multi-year support and assistance from university faculty, administration and staff," notes Blekhman.


The innovative work done by faculty and students at Cal State LA, Humboldt State and San José State is just part of the CSU story when it comes to finding sustainable fuel sources and improving the ones we already use. The California State University will continue to play an essential role in advancing the research that powers not just transportation but the future of the state.


This article is the fourth in a series on California's transportation problems and the ways the campuses of the California State University are working to solve them. Read our previous coverage on the CSU's role in finding solutions to California's gridlock, building better roads and making fossil fuels greener, and check back for upcoming articles on how the CSU is working to develop new biofuels and preparing the workforce of experts in air, land and sea logistics.

Story: Lorie A. Parch

PHOTOGRAPHY & Videography: PATRICK RECORD; courtesy of humboldt state and cal state la

 

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Alternative Fuels: Betting on Batteries
Blazing-Her-Own-Trail.aspx
  
12/4/2018 1:24 PMKelly, Hazel12/4/201812/4/2018 9:00 AMFor Humboldt State student Tenaya Wood, fighting wildfire is a way of life. Find out how growing up in a firefighting family and what she's learning at the CSU are fueling her future.CaliforniaStory
Understanding Fire Hero Image

blazing her own trail 

For Humboldt State student Tenaya Wood, fighting wildfire is a way of life. 

find out how growing up in a firefighting family and her education at the CSU are fueling her future.

Tenaya Wood was born into a firefighting family. Her father, Rock Wood, was a smokejumper, helitack superintendent and engine captain; her mother, Cynthia Wood, was one of the first women firefighters on a U.S. Forest Service initial attack fire crew. Together, her parents started their own firefighting company, Wood’s Fire & Emergency Services, based in the Plumas National Forest in northern California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Now a first-generation student majoring in forestry at Humboldt State University, Wood had already spent countless hours in the world of firefighting before going to college. Even when she was too young to fight fires herself, she’d work at her parents’ company to learn about the financial and operational sides of the business.

Rock, Tenaya and Cynthia Wood work together at their company, Wood's Fire & Emergency Services. When not contracted as a resource to fight a state or federal wildfire, the company performs prescribed burns and brush-clearing services to help protect structures and communities. Tenaya's father wanted to attend Humboldt State, but was unable to. The fact that she's a first-generation student there means a lot to her and her family, she says.

“I always visited my parents out on burns growing up,” remembers Wood. “As a kid, I remember waking to find 20 firefighters sleeping on my living room floor because they got in from a fire at 11 o'clock the night before."

Hazel Kelly at Calstate.edu spoke to Wood about her inborn passion for fighting and managing wildfire and how her experiences in both the field and the classroom are helping to prepare her for her career.

Understanding Fire Hero Image

Wood uses a driptorch for controlled burns, such as a prescribed burn designed to remove excess forest fuel buildup or recreate natural cycles of fire in an ecosystem.

Wood uses a driptorch (shown above) for controlled burns, such as a prescribed burn designed to remove excess forest fuel buildup or recreate natural cycles of fire in an ecosystem.

Hazel Kelly: What do you remember about the first fire you worked on?

Tenaya Wood: As soon as I turned 18, I finished all the classes that I needed and joined my parents’ company. From the minute that I started doing it, I was hooked. My very first fire was a 36-hour shift—an initial attack fire on top of a ridge. I got to spot the fire myself with binoculars, in a lightning storm. It was really cool to have that starting moment, to see it happen and follow it all the way through until we were relieved by another crew, although it was pretty much out at that point.

Kelly: What’s one thing most people probably don’t know about working with wildfire?

Wood: After an area of wildland is destroyed by fire, it gives the land a little bit of a rest. It's like Mother Nature's way of showing that she's still in control. Honestly, those are some of the most beautiful places in a weird way. The places where there are no pine needles left and they're just charred candlesticks with no branches left on the trees, or maybe not even any trees left. Those are beautiful places to walk through, especially a couple months after a fire, because you start seeing the pioneer species—the first ones to come back—re-sprouting, and you see animals walking through.

Understanding Fire Hero Image

Wood currently works as an engine boss and prescribed fire advisor when not attending classes at Humboldt State.

Kelly: Fighting wildfire is, of course, incredibly exhausting, both physically and psychologically. How do you keep going?

Wood: It’s just all of the little things. I'll come out on the top of the mountain after a physically demanding hike and see just a gorgeous view and look over and see my "brothers" all smiling. That's a really cool thing. A lot of the views are really good and make a hard hike worth it.

Of course there are times that you're sitting in a parking lot for six hours waiting for an assignment. But then there are times that you know that you made a difference, because you see it on the map the next day. A structure we weren't sure we would be able to save turned up as safe the next day at briefing, and that was because we had led a dozer and crew around for 18 hours the day before. With help of the handcrew and my engine crew, the bulldozer was able to dig a secure fireline that created a boundary around the home and prevented the fire from spreading.

When people find out that a structure was saved, or after they’re let back into their homes and they come find you somehow, or send you cards, it definitely makes it worth it. We see the aftereffects of our work.

tough work, big rewards 

Wood shares an experience during the July Complex Fire in 2014 that became a defining moment in her career so far.


WHY IT’S WORTH IT
Wood shares an experience she had while on a fire that became one of those moments when she knew she was on the right path.

Understanding Fire Hero Image


Wood as a child with her father as they set a controlled burn. Photo courtesy of Tenaya Wood

Kelly: What was it like growing up in a firefighting family?

Wood: When I was a kid I would always run out to the truck and meet my dad when he came in from a fire. I would want to carry something, so he would give me his helmet and I would run around in his yellow fire shirt. He would say, “Get out of that—it's all smoky and sweaty,” but I always liked the smell because it smelled like smoke.

And when my dad left for a fire, my mom and I would walk him out to the end of the driveway and wave to him until we couldn't see his truck anymore.

I remember on one of my birthdays my dad came home in the water tender and pulled a new bike out of the sleeper cab that he had stopped along the way and got me.

My parents would also bring me back commemorative fire t-shirts. Companies will sell t-shirts with the fire name and month and year and some custom artwork. I still have some, and now I always bring back shirts for them. It’s a fun tradition and a way to commemorate your time on that fire.

Kelly: What is the relationship of local Native Americans to wildfire?

Wood: Up in the Klamath, California, area, we do a prescribed burn every year on Yurok Indian tribal land. The tribes understand the need for fire and the balance of it. For example, they’ll say, “We need to burn here because we need hazel branches to make our baskets, or we need bear grass and it's used for this purpose, or we need berries for this.”

For my senior undergraduate project, I’m studying fire's effects on hazel bush regeneration on the Yurok Reservation. The tribe uses hazel for basketry and they’re having challenges with the bushes not growing well, due to encroaching poison oak, blackberries and conifers.

I recently put together a crewthe first of its kind in the nationto implement a prescribed burn on specific areas of Yurok land where hazel grows and began a study to measure the effects of fire intensity on hazel regeneration. We monitored the duration of the plants' exposure to fire, the temperature reached, etc. Now we will monitor those burned areas for regrowth to determine the ideal fire intensity needed for the hazel to regrow healthy and straight—important for the Yurok's basket-weaving purposes. The whole point of this burn is for cultural use and hands-on training for participants.

I'm finishing up my bachelor’s in forestry at Humboldt State with an emphasis in wildland fire management and a minor in Native American studies. I hope to go on to a master’s in fire ecology with an emphasis in cultural fire use—how tribes utilize fire. Ideally, I'll be able to see [how] other tribes in the Southwest are utilizing things too. It would be really cool to tie fire and Native American studies together, countrywide.

Shown here are baskets woven with the wood of hazel trees grown on the Yurok Indian tribal land. Wood is studying how these trees regenerate after fire.

Kelly: Tell us about your involvement in the development of a new degree program at Humboldt State.

Wood: There are one or two tribal colleges in the nation that teach forestry, but there's no forestry degree with a tribal forestry concentration from a four-year institution. Humboldt State's Forestry Department Chair, Dr. David Greene, along with local tribes and others, saw the need to be able to help tribes learn how to manage their own lands for wildfire and give them the option of getting a bachelor's of science, or becoming a certified forester, without feeling like they're betraying their tribe by not doing Native American studies.

So I reached out to different tribes around here and different professors and just got their take on what they wanted to see and what issues they wanted to address. I helped suggest classes that would be required, both from forestry and from Native American studies, that would make up a tribal forestry degree. Some of those issues would include water, fire and land use. I also surveyed current students about their interest in the possibility of the program. I had to get 40 or more students to say that they would consider the program if it were offered. Before two days of surveying were finished, I already had 60 signatures.

Native American culture has such a big influence up here in Humboldt and people are definitely realizing the need to address tribal forestry. I think they're just realizing that it's a necessary thing, just like women in fire becoming a necessary thing.

(Editor’s note: The bachelor’s of science in forestry with a concentration in tribal forestry at Humboldt State is currently in development and has not yet been authorized by the university. If approved, it would be available in 2021 or after. )

Wood with the Humboldt State Student Association for Fire Ecology (SAFE) chapter preparing for a prescribed burn assignment.

Kelly: You’re helping other students at Humboldt State get experience in wildfire. Why is that so important to you?

Wood: The Student Association for Fire Ecology (SAFE) is a national organization. I joined my first year at Humboldt. It was a really small club, but they were passionate about fire. Last year, our club had grown to 42 members.

At the time I joined, I had more fire experience than most of the other members. So I started volunteering with them. We went to the Prescribed Fire Training Exchanges (TREX) burn for the first time and I urged members to go on the TREX burns on their own. Then we did some trainings and résumé-building workshops and I helped people apply for fire crews. This year, I have four other officers with me and they all have experience in fire at least one summer, at a minimum.

Our SAFE chapter is trying to bridge the gap between field experience and education, because we kept having students ask us, “Why do I need to take this class? How does this relate to fire?” And they'll get school credit for going to these burns too, so it's really cool. I kept meeting people that either had education or experience, but not both, so I kind of bridged the gap between those to help people make connections.

(Editor’s note: The interview with Tenaya Wood has been edited for length.) 


This article is the third in a series on the  California State University's role in understanding, preventing and fighting California's devastating wildfires.  Read our previous coverage on the CSU’s role in understanding fire to better predict and prevent it  and get to know a dedicated wildland fire crew  comprised mostly of CSU students and alumni.

Story: Hazel Kelly

photoGRAPHY & Videography: PATRICK RECORD; courtesy of tenaya wood

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Blazing Her Own Trail
Making-Fossil-Fuels-A-Little-Greener.aspx
  
11/29/2018 2:30 PMParch, Lorie11/29/201811/29/2018 11:00 AMCalifornia leads the nation in finding more sustainable ways to fuel cars. But gas and oil aren't going away just yet, so the CSU is helping to make them cleaner and more efficient. CaliforniaStory
gas pump and car

Making Fossil Fuels A Little Greener

California leads the nation in finding more sustainable ways to fuel cars. But gas and oil aren't going away just yet, so the CSU is helping to make them cleaner and more efficient.

Thirty million vehicles. That’s roughly how many automobiles, trucks and motorcycles are on California roads. To make these machines move takes about 14 billion gallons of gasoline a year.

While it might be nice to imagine waving a magic wand and—poof!—see every Californian driving an eco-friendly, gas-free car, most of us rely on gasoline, so we’re still filling up at the proverbial pump.

The good news is that because California leads the nation in the transition to alternative sustainable fuels, as a state we’re ahead of the game. Not only are longer-lasting, faster-charging batteries and lighter cars in development, researchers are finding ways to make the state’s production of fossil fuels cleaner. Read on to learn more about how CSU faculty and students are helping in this important effort. (This story is the first of three on how the CSU is researching alternative fuels as part of our transportation series.)


FUELING CALIFORNIA

About 70 percent of the oil and gas used in the state is produced in Kern County, says Alan Fuchs, Ph.D., director of the California Energy Research Center at CSU Bakersfield. (The oil is refined at the coasts, near Los Angeles and San Francisco.)

That makes the oil and gasoline industries important players in California’s economy, providing jobs that help sustain communities.

Where DO Californians fuel up?

Number of Stations By Fuel Type

Where Californians fuel up

* Includes liquefied natural gas (46), natural gas (142) and CNG (323)
Source: California Energy Commission; U.S. Department of Energy (alternative fueling station counts include public and private stations)

 

A number of oil and gas companies are already using clean or cleaner energy to produce oil and petroleum, notes Dr. Fuchs. “We are moving in the direction of cleaner fuels, which will include natural gas, solar, wind and bioenergy,” he says. When these greener types of energy are used to support oil and petroleum production, “they do end up making the overall process cleaner and cheaper.” In a March 2017 fact sheet, Kern County reported that it produces more renewable energy than any other county in the state. 

Put another way, the process of getting oil out of the ground can be more environmentally friendly and less expensive when powered by alternative energy sources. For example, Fuchs points to the 770-acre Belridge Solar thermal power plant going up near Bakersfield that will produce steam and electricity to be used in the production of oil. It is the world’s first plant of this kind, situated on an oil field that produces more than 80,000 barrels of oil a day. 

 

"Our graduates are in a strong position to gain employment in national-level engineering companies."


Dr. Alan Fuchs, Director, California Energy Research Center at CSU Bakersfield

AN ENGINE OF MOBILITY

The hybrid production of alternative energy sources and fossil fuels is creating more opportunities for students who want to pursue careers in energy, notes Fuchs, who also works with the Mineta Transportation Institute at San José State University. “We have students from physics, biochemistry, biology, electrical engineering, computer engineering, and computer science working on projects at the Energy Research Center.”

“I expect students to end up working at ... companies all over the state,” says Fuchs, who also collaborates with the UC to feed CSU graduates into doctoral programs.

HELP WANTED

These companies and organizations, both local to CSUB and national, have hired CSU Bakersfield graduates, says Dr. Alan Fuchs:

  • Aera Energy
  • Berry Petroleum Company
  • California Resources Corporation
  • Chevron
  • E&B Natural Resources
  • Edwards Air Force Base
  • Macpherson
  • Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division (China Lake, Mojave Desert)
  • Virgin Galactic

CSU Bakersfield recently received accreditation from ABET for three of its engineering programs, Fuchs says. “Now that we have this, our graduates are really in a strong position to gain employment in national-level engineering companies.”

 

GOING THE DISTANCE: CAL POly slo students build a super-high MPG vehicle

What if every car got not just a few dozen miles to the gallon but hundreds? Engineering students at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo are conceiving and creating vehicles that might do exactly that.

As part of the annual Shell Eco-marathon, students at universities around the U.S. “are challenged to build, design and test energy-efficient cars, pushing the boundaries of what is technically possible.” In April 2018, SLO students—all of whom are members of the Cal Poly Supermileage club—earned fourth place out of 100 teams for their prototype vehicle, Delamina, which clocked in at just under 1300 miles per gallon of gas.

See how these talented Cal Poly SLO students create their entry, from design to the raceway:

 

This article is the third in a series on California's transportation problems and the ways in which the campuses of the California State University are working to solve them. Our previous coverage includes the CSU's role in finding solutions to California's gridlock and building better roads across the state. Check back for upcoming articles on how the CSU works to strengthen the electric vehicle and hydrogen fuel cell industries; our research into future clean fuel sources; and the ways in which faculty prepare the workforce of experts in land and sea logistics.

Story: LORIE A. PARCH

PHOTOGRAPHY & Videography: PATRICK RECORD; "Going the distance" photos courtesy of Cal poly slo supermileage and mikayla barkley


 

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Making Fossil Fuels A Little Greener
The-CSUs-Center-of-Community-Engagement-Celebrates-20-Years-of-Student-Success.aspx
  
12/5/2018 3:51 PMRuble, Alisia11/28/201811/28/2018 8:35 AMThe Center's stellar faculty and programs have led the university toward increasing inclusivity, equity and student achievement for the past 20 years.Service LearningStory

The California State University (CSU) is proud to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) and the profound impact it has made on student success at the CSU and across the nation.

CCE—the first office of its kind in the U.S.—was established at the CSU Office of the Chancellor in 1998 with a goal of graduating students to be more socially responsible for their communities. It institutionalized service learning at all 23 campuses, which led to CSU's Board of Trustees and Academic Senate passing landmark resolutions that ensure all students have the opportunity to participate in community service and service learning during their time at the CSU.

Service learning as a high-impact practice is vital to improving student success as it applies classroom knowledge to real world experiences. Addressing environmental justice, researching urban poverty and serving at nonprofit organizations are just some of the high-quality programs that immerse students in issues within their communities. Not only does community engagement prepare students to become change agents, their relationship with their peers and environment is also strengthened.

20 Years of Impact

The CSU's commitment to increasing access to service-learning courses, particularly for students from historically underserved communities, supports campus efforts to achieve the Graduation Initiative 2025 goals of closing equity gaps and improving completion rates.

20 years of successes have demonstrated strong effects of CCE's faculty and programs toward increasing inclusivity, equity and student achievement. A recent CSU-wide study on service learning shows six-year graduation rates were generally higher for STEM students who participated in service learning than those who did not participate. Furthermore, service-learning experiences were found to increase students' interest in STEM careers and statistically improve their attitudes toward civic engagement.

The Center's list of accomplishments goes on to include:

  • Earning the CSU widespread recognition for social and economic impact on California, including the 14 CSU campuses who have received the Carnegie Foundation's Community Engagement Classification.  
  • Increasing service-learning courses by 248 percent and affording 1.1 million CSU students with opportunities to serve alongside community members over the past two decades. Every year, more than 67,000 students contribute 1.5 million hours of service through nearly 3,500 courses in collaboration with more than 5,800 community organization partnerships.
  • Its diverse programs closed the retention equity gap for Pell-grant recipients and traditionally underrepresented students of color per CSU STEM VISTA: A Three Year Impact Report. CSU STEM VISTA is focused on eliminating race, class and gender disparities in the CSU's science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines.
  • Accolades received by CCE faculty are testaments to their impact on student success. The inaugural Faculty Innovation and Leadership Awards earlier this year honored seven CSU faculty members for improving student learning and degree completion by implementing cutting-edge techniques in their curriculum: Stephanie Bianco (Chico), Karina Garbesi and Erik Helgren (East Bay), Rajee Amarasinghe (Fresno), Julián Jefferies (Fullerton) Hakan Ozcelik (Sacramento) and Margaret Stevenson (San José).

In addition to the CCE's influence on student success, it also plays a significant role in California's communities. Since 2000, on average, CSU campuses and CCE have raised $3.1 million annually to support community engagement, equating to a return on investment of $3 for every dollar invested by the state.

As the CSU continues its mission of producing the graduates to supply California's future workforce needs, the CCE and its community partners remain a constant force that drives the university and the state toward their goals. To learn more about the Center for Community Engagement, visit http://calstate.edu/cce/.

The CSU's Center for Community Engagement Celebrates 20 Years of Student Success
CSU-Receives-Support-to-Help-Solve-Teacher-Shortage.aspx
  
1/8/2019 3:27 PMSalvador, Christianne11/21/201811/21/2018 12:30 PMCalifornia State University campuses received nearly $26 million in grants from the United States Department of Education to help address California’s teacher shortage and recruit diverse teaching candidates. Teacher PreparationStory

California State University campuses received nearly $26 million in grants from the United States Department of Education to help address the state's teacher shortage and recruit diverse teaching candidates. 

Creating a Diverse Teacher Workforce

California State University, Fresno ($3.75 million), California State University, Monterey Bay ($3.75 million), California State University San Marcos ($2.75 million) and Humboldt State University ($2.7 million) have received funding from the Department of Education’s Developing Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) program to assist in recruiting, supporting and retaining Hispanic teacher candidates. 

CSU campuses will work closely with a range of partners—including community colleges, PK-12 school districts and community partners like the California Mini-Corps  and Project Tomorrow—in recruiting a diverse teacher workforce. Campus efforts will also encourage first-generation college-going and low-income students to consider teaching careers and preparation to teach in bilingual classrooms.

“As campuses adopt additional programs and recruitment strategies featured in these HSI projects, the CSU can significantly reduce the diversity gap among the teachers it produces in the coming years,” said Marquita Grenot-Scheyer, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Educator Preparation. “These changes will produce significant educational benefits for all of California’s PK-12 students.”

The CSU plays a significant role in enhancing teacher diversity, with the majority of its teacher candidates being of color and over one-third being Hispanic/LatinX. Additionally, 21 CSU campuses are Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and are continuously recognized as being among the nation’s top universities enrolling and granting degrees to the most Hispanic students.

Preparing the Future of STEM

California State University, Bakersfield ($5.4 million), California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo ($4.1 million) and California State University, Sacramento ($3.5 million) have been awarded new funding as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Teacher Quality Partnerships (TQP) program to grow the pool of quality new teachers in California and improve retention rates of teachers.
 
The grants will focus on enhancing relationships between CSU teacher preparation programs and partnering institutions, improving student achievement in low-income schools and will emphasize preparation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for new K-12 teachers.

Campus efforts will also focus on recruiting diverse and low-income teaching candidates, encouraging them to pursue high shortage fields of study like bilingual, STEM and computer science education, and partnerships with high-need school districts in teacher preparation and induction.

“Projects like these are critical to preparing a STEM literate K-12 student population equipped to major in STEM disciplines as undergraduates and pursue careers in these fields,” said Ganesh Raman, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research.

The CSU prepares more of California’s P-12 teachers than all other institutions combined — and nearly eight percent of the nation’s teachers. The CSU is committed to growing the number of credentialed STEM teachers, graduating over 1,500 new K-12 STEM teachers and enrolling more than 3,200 STEM education students annually. To learn more, visit our page for teacher education and preparation.

$26M in Awards Boost CSU Efforts to Reduce Teacher Shortage
fall-2019-application-season-closing.aspx
  
11/26/2018 3:17 PMParch, Lorie11/19/201811/19/2018 8:00 AMThere’s still time to get in your application, but the deadline is coming up fast.ApplyStory

Update: On November 26, 2018, the California State University announced an extension to the fall 2019 priority application period. The deadline is now Saturday, December 15. This article has been amended to reflect this change. Learn more about the extension.


On October 1, 2018, the California State University opened the priority application period for students to apply to all 23 campuses for the fall 2019 semester. All students who want to attend a CSU campus must apply for admission through Cal State Apply.

That application period is now winding down and will close on December 15, 2018, at 11:59 p.m.

There are good reasons to get your application sooner rather than later. It's especially important to apply during this priority admission cycle (in other words, before December 15) if the campus or degree program you're interested in is "impacted," meaning there are more qualified applicants than there is space to accommodate them.

If you're not sure whether the campus(es) and/or degree(s) you'd like to attend are impacted for 2019-20, check the Impaction section of Calstate.edu. There are some campuses at which all undergraduate programs are impacted: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Fresno State, CSU Fullerton, CSU Long Beach, San Diego State, and San José State.

Impaction doesn't mean you will not get into a program or campus, but it does mean that campuses will look at where you went to school, among other factors. Applicants who are local to an impacted campus are given priority.

(If you've applied to the CSU in the past, you may want to learn what's different about Cal State Apply for this application cycle.)

Be sure to build in time to talk to a counselor or your parent or guardian if there's information you'll need from them to complete your application. (Want to know what happens after you submit your application? Learn what to expect next.)

If you have technical problems with your application, visit the Cal State Apply Applicant Help Center (which includes a live chat feature) or check out the Cal State Apply FAQ.


Fall 2019 Application Season Closes November 30
The CSU Fall 2019 Application Season is Closing Soon. Have You Applied Yet?
CSU-San-Marcos-Presidential-Search-Committee-to-Hold-First-Meeting.aspx
  
12/4/2018 4:24 PMRuble, Alisia11/15/201811/15/2018 9:30 AMThe CSU Board of Trustees is beginning the search for a new president of California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) to succeed Dr. Karen Haynes, who is retiring in June 2019.LeadershipPress Release

The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees is beginning the search for a new president of California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) to succeed Dr. Karen Haynes, who is retiring in June 2019.

The first meeting of the Trustees' Committee for the Selection of the President will be held in an open forum from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, in the University Student Union Ballroom on the CSUSM campus. The open meeting will be followed by a closed meeting.

CSU Trustee Jean Picker Firstenberg will chair the committee. The other trustee members include:  Debra Farar, Juan García and Jack McGrory as well as Trustee Chairman Adam Day and CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White.

Board policy requires the chair of the CSU trustees to appoint an Advisory Committee to the Trustees' Committee. The Advisory Committee is composed of representatives from the faculty, staff, students, and alumni, as well as a member of a campus advisory board, all of whom are selected by the campus' constituency groups. Also on the Advisory Committee is a vice president or academic dean from the campus, and a president of another CSU campus - both selected by the chancellor.  Both committees function as one unified group.

Members of the Advisory Committee for the Selection of the President include:

  • CSUSM faculty members Mtafiti Imara, Ph.D., professor and chair, Music, and Jacqueline Trischman, Ph.D., professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Suzanne Moineau, Ph.D., chair, CSUSM Academic Senate
  • Christine Vaughan, creative communications officer, CSUSM Office of Communications (staff representative)
  • Savana Doudar, president and chief executive officer, CSUSM Associated Students, Inc. (student representative)
  • Jeremy Addis-Mills (alumni representative)
  • Jack Raymond, chair, CSUSM Foundation Board (campus advisory board representative)
  • Patricia Prado-Olmos, Ph.D., vice president, CSUSM Division of Community Engagement
  • Community representatives Major General Tony Jackson (retired) and Russell "Butch" Murphy
  • Ellen Junn, Ph.D., president of California State University, Stanislaus

The purpose of the meeting in an open forum is to: review the role of the committee, receive comments and input from the public and campus community, explain the search process and confidentiality, confirm the schedule of meetings, discuss preferred attributes of the next president, review the descriptions and needs of the campus and presidential position, and discuss any other business related to the search process.

Over the next several months, the committee will review candidates and conduct interviews.

#  #  #

About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of four-year higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, 50,800 faculty and staff and 484,000 students. Half of the CSU's students transfer from California community colleges. Created in 1960, the mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of California. With its commitment to quality, opportunity, and student success, the CSU is renowned for superb teaching, innovative research and for producing job-ready graduates. Each year, the CSU awards more than 110,000 degrees. One in every 20 Americans holding a college degree is a graduate of the CSU and our alumni are 3.4 million strong. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU NewsCenter.


CSU San Marcos Presidential Search Committee to Hold First Meeting
meet-crew-7.aspx
  
11/19/2018 10:06 AMSua, Ricky11/15/201811/15/2018 9:00 AMGet to know 20 exceptional California wildland firefighters—many of whom are CSU students and alumni—working hard to stop wildfires and save communities. CaliforniaStory
Understanding Fire Hero Image

MEET CREW 7

Get to know 20 exceptional california wildland firefighters—many of whom are CSU students and alumni—working hard to stop wildfires and save communities.

Imagine carrying 50 pounds of gear up a mountain ridge in the scorching heat of the California summer. Thick smoke is everywhere as you wipe ash from your eyes. You're exhausted, hot, spent. As you turn to your right, your fellow crewmate gives you a smile. You and 19 others are in this together. Working as a team, you're going to help stop a wildfire from spreading.

This is what draws men and women into the world of wildland firefighting. Those who heed the call have an abiding passion for protecting forests and the communities that surround them and a drive to persevere even when the going gets incredibly tough.

Working side-by-side, hiking and camping in often remote backcountry for days at a time, firefighting handcrews do the demanding work of digging firelines around wildfires to contain them using tools like Pulaskis and chainsaws that clear away flammable vegetation.

Get to know the 20 men who worked during summer 2018 on Santa Lucia Crew 7, a Type II U.S. Forest Service handcrew based in Los Padres National Forest in southern and central California. Because Crew 7's schedule caters to seasonal employment, many California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (SLO) students studying forestry and natural resources (with a concentration in wildland fuels and fire management) have served on the team, gaining invaluable experience in fire management. 

(Editor's Note, November 2018:  Crew 7 is not currently on assignment. No members have been deployed to fight the current wildfires in northern and southern California. They will resume service after the spring 2019 semester. The images in this story were captured during the summer 2018 Holy Fire.)

Understanding Fire Hero Image

Alumnus, Cal Poly SLO (’18) 
Third Firefighting Season

Austin Lord, who earned his bachelor's in forestry and natural resources from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, says that the best days on the job are those he spends simply being in a beautiful place, doing challenging, meaningful work. 

Many students from Cal Poly and other colleges have joined Crew 7 to gain vital hands-on experience. After graduation, some go on to work in fire management positions in state or federal agencies such as CAL FIRE or the U.S. Forest Service. 


What motivates him: I want to be the best firefighter I can be. A person's ability to push through tough assignments is a big part of being good at this job.

Favorite tool: The chainsaw. Once you get in a good rhythm with your saw partner, cutting can be pretty fun. It's also really satisfying seeing the amount of work one saw team can put in. It makes a big difference in line construction.

Best day: The best days always end by "tying in," or completing a piece of fireline, after a long shift. Tying in is usually accompanied by fist bumps and a strong feeling of camaraderie and accomplishment.

Favorite meal: Any meal that gets flown in when the crew is "spiked out" away from camp. The relief of not having to eat another military ration (MRE) makes whatever is in the "hot bucket" taste pretty amazing.

Favorite way to relax: Surfing. I consider myself extremely lucky to be on a crew stationed near the ocean and I like to take advantage of that on days off. Plus, cold saltwater feels like therapy after two weeks of heat, dirt and sweat.

ZACHARY BARBER

Student, Cal Poly SLO
Second Firefighting Season

Best day: In September 2018, we were dispatched to a fire at a ranch located very deep in the Santa Barbara backcountry. We drove for 2.5 hours off Highway 154, down insanely sketchy dirt roads to access this fire. As we crested a ridge at about sunset, we had a ridgetop view of the Ogilvy Fire. Shortly after, we saw smokejumpers jumping out of their airplanes to parachute into the fire. That's how remote this fire was. We worked until 1 a.m. cutting direct line right behind the jumpers we had just seen fall from the sky.

REUBEN BRAND

Student, Cal Poly SLO
14th Firefighting Season

Best day: In 2010, my crew, Salmon Helitack, was called to Jackson, Wyoming, to assist with a prescribed burn designed to enhance the habitat for Rocky Mountain elk herds in parts of Grand Teton National Park. We used drip torches along a trail to create a black line for the helitorch to come in behind us. Our burn reduced the dense stands of lodgepole pine and subalpine fir to allow for quaking aspen to regenerate and provide forage for the elk. We covered several miles of fireline that day and the total acres burned was over 2,000.

BRIAN CLARK

Alumnus and graduate student, Cal Poly SLO (18)
Third Firefighting Season

Best day: My favorite day this season was on the Holy Fire when we were cutting a direct fireline. While making our way through the cut, my saw team got bumped down the line to mitigate some garden vegetation that was flaring up around a mobile home and our parked trucks. We cut some flaming brush and resumed cutting line with the others before we tied in the piece of line with the Breckenridge Hotshot Crew.

SPENCER KEMP

Student, Cal Poly SLO
Third Firefighting Season

What motivates him: Thinking about the people that I care about motivates me to be great. I always remember the purpose of a task we are doing and how it will better the environment and safety for the public.

Best day: Cutting hot line all day, then eating spaghetti and meatballs back at fire camp.

Understanding Fire Hero Image

Student, Cal Poly SLO
Second Firefighting Season

As the foot soldiers of wildland firefighting, handcrews must travel on foot for miles with heavy gear. Tremendous physical endurance is an essential part of the job.

Crews clear flammable brush and dig firelines, creating a border that will keep a fire from spreading. When this line is close to the actual fire, it's called a "hot line" or "direct line." 


Why he does it: I joined the crew to gain valuable hands-on experience and knowledge of fighting fires. It is also a stepping stone into a fire career full of many opportunities.

What motivates him: Knowing that 19 others are going through the same thing as me.

Favorite tool: Chingadera scraping tool

Best day: My favorite day of this last fire season was getting helicoptered to the Ogilvy Fire, cutting line at night, and "spiking out" (sleeping on the line) with the crew.

NICK HENDRICKS

Student, Cal Poly SLO
First Firefighting Season

Why he does it: Growing up in Southern California, I have memories of wildland fires affecting me and my community from a young age. This job seemed like a way where I could take an active role rather than just be a bystander. There was also a sense of thrill knowing I could combine a job and my love for the outdoors together. It's exciting going to work knowing you could end up sleeping in some national forest you've always wanted to visit.

TYLER O’BRIEN

Alumnus, Cal Poly SLO (’17)
First Firefighting Season

Best day: The first day of cutting hot line along the fire’s edge. I am a puller so I was swamping the brush as it was being cut and throwing it out of the way. I love the feeling you get after a hard shift of work knowing you pushed yourself right up to the edge of your breaking point.

Favorite meal: My favorite meal at a fire is scarfing beef fritters with gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, salad, chocolate milk and apple pie.

CHARLES WATKINS

Student, Cal Poly SLO
Second Firefighting Season

Best day: On a fire in the Klamath National Forest, the crew and I worked all day keeping it from crossing over into a valley filled with homes.

Favorite meal: Whenever fire camp has spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. And don’t forget the chocolate milk!

CALEB KATCHES

Student, Cal Poly SLO
Second Firefighting season

Why he does it: To gain fire experience and to learn more about wildland fire as it pertains to my major.

What motivates him: The difficult parts of the job build character and can always be used as personal learning experiences.

Best day: Hanging out with the crew after a long, strenuous shift, all of us being exhausted but proud of our efforts.

Understanding Fire Hero Image

Alumnus, Cal Poly SLO ('17)
Second season firefighting

The crew uses several different types of handtools. The chainsaw is by far their favorite, thanks to its power and ability to swiftly cut away brush. 

To suppress a large wildfire, Crew 7 often works in tandem with other crews and agencies, from engine crews to more advanced hot shot handcrews.


Why he does it: I joined Crew 7 my second-to-last year of college as I transitioned out of baseball and into a new walk of life. I remember seeing my roommate Clark coming back dirty and full of good stories and I asked him right then how I could get on the crew. I think all the guys on the crew embody hard work, dedication, perseverance, humility, and loyalty and those are all qualities I want to be a part of.

What motivates him: I was humbled as a teenager by an accident that really changed my outlook on physical and mental pain. I feel lucky to be where I am at today, so when things get tough I try to just remember that at any moment my ability to attempt a physically or mentally tough assignment may be lost. In the moment, however, I like to break things down into small moments and put all my focus into each moment. That usually helps me from stressing on the whole situation.

Best day: The initial attack on the Whittier Fire behind Santa Barbara in 2017. Being the first or second crew to show up on the scene, we were thrown right into the mix. We got to cut hot line and direct line all night and ended up working into the next afternoon for a 23-hour shift. I learned so much and it was an amazing experience to suffer through one of the hardest shifts of my life with my brothers.

What he carries: I carry a quartz crystal that was gifted to me by my girlfriend. She told me to keep it in my "man purse" to bring the crew good luck and keep us safe.

SHANE SCANLAN

Alumnus, Cal Poly SLO (’18)
Second Firefighting Season

What motivates him: Just knowing that there are other people in the same situation or often worse situations/conditions. In our case, there are probably other crews who have been on the fire longer, cut more line and had more difficult assignments.

Best day: Our first day on the Ogilvy Fire. We drove in for three hours on a Jeep trail and got to start work as the sun went down. It was a great experience for me to get to work with some smokejumpers out of Redding.

CHRIS SEYLE

Alumnus, Humboldt State (15)
First Firefighting Season

Why he joined: I truly enjoy hard work and the outdoors, so this seemed like the right path to take to get involved with firefighting.

Best day: A full day’s work, soaked in sweat, dirt on our faces, and everyone is still laughing.


MORGAN MOORE

Alumnus, Cal Poly SLO (’18)
First Firefighting Season

Best day: I wake up without poison oak and after breakfast we get a nice mile hike in to work. Work is hard but we get a nice lunch break where I enjoy a roast beef sandwich with cream cheese and pepperoncini. We finish working and there is no hike out. Dinner is delicious with some ice cream to boot, and we’re done by 8 p.m.

Favorite meal: Honestly, I love when we get to crack an MRE (meal, ready-to-eat). Just the thought of opening food that could have been packaged a decade ago makes it taste better.

CODY PETERSON

Student, Cal Poly SLO
First Firefighting Season

Why he joined: I am pursuing a career in the fire service and this crew was a great way to obtain fire experience while also finishing my bachelor’s degree.

What motivates him: Thinking about my current and future family keeps me motivated to keep going.

Best day: The first day on the Holy Fire where we had the opportunity to cut hot line and tie in with a hotshot crew.

Understanding Fire Hero Image

Student, Cal Poly SLO
First Firefighting Season

Why he joined: Firefighting is a respectable and demanding job. Crew 7 gave me an opportunity to gain my first official experience working as a firefighter.

What motivates him: Knowing that I’m doing what I love and I’ve prepared for this situation and I can handle it alongside my crew members.

Favorite class: Wildfire Suppression. It is taught by an old crew boss of Crew 7, and he taught us everything we need to know for the fire crew. It was all directly applicable.

 

JASON MITCHELL
Crew 7 Supervisor

I enjoy seeing my new firefighters accomplish something they didn’t think was possible. It could be something as simple as hiking to the top of a ridge or receiving a promotion. Their success reflects on me.

 

JOEY GONZALES
First Firefighting Season

I wanted to be a part of something that is bigger than myself. I enjoy the physical and mental challenges that come with this career.                           

 

MICHAEL GARRETT
Second Firefighting Season

A friend used to say, ‘You will always think you could have pushed harder once you reach the top of the hill.’

 

COLE WILSON
Second Firefighting Season

My best day was showing up to the Holy Fire and spending the day cutting hot line in rough terrain.                           


This article is the second in a series on the California State University's role in understanding, preventing and fighting California's devastating wildfires. Read our previous coverage on the CSU’s role in understanding fire to better predict and prevent it. 

The next story in our series coming later this month, will introduce you to Tenaya Wood, a Humboldt State student who grew up in a firefighting family.

Story: Hazel Kelly

photoGRAPHY: PATRICK RECORD

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Wildland Firefighters and the CSU: Meet Crew 7
CSU-to-Extend-Fall-2019-Application-Period-to-December-15.aspx
  
1/8/2019 3:31 PMParch, Lorie11/9/201811/9/2018 12:25 PMWith many prospective students, their families and communities facing hardship due to wildfires affecting the entire state, the CSU is extending the priority application deadline for fall 2019 admission to December 15.ApplyPress Release

With many prospective students, their families and communities facing hardship due to wildfires affecting the entire state, the California State University (CSU) is extending the priority application deadline for fall 2019 admission to December 15.

The university previously announced a series of accommodations for applicants affected by recent wildfires, but the CSU has now extended the entire priority application window to ensure that all applicants have the opportunity to apply to their desired CSU campuses.

All 23 campuses began accepting applications for admission to the fall 2019 term through the Cal State Apply website on October 1.

Cal State Apply is the best place for prospective students and their parents to learn about the degree offerings at each of the 23 CSU campuses, as it includes a comprehensive database detailing undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered at each campus, as well as information about the campus community, student housing and campus life.

After applying to the CSU through Cal State Apply, students should visit the university's financial aid website and apply for financial aid or learn more about financial aid options. Eighty percent of CSU students receive some type of financial aid, and more than half of all CSU undergraduates receive enough financial aid to cover the full cost of tuition.

# # #

About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of four-year higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, 50,800 faculty and staff and 484,000 students. Half of the CSU's students transfer from California community colleges. Created in 1960, the mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of California. With its commitment to quality, opportunity, and student success, the CSU is renowned for superb teaching, innovative research and for producing job-ready graduates. Each year, the CSU awards more than 110,000 degrees. One in every 20 Americans holding a college degree is a graduate of the CSU and our alumni are 3.4 million strong. Connect with and learn more about the CSU in the CSU NewsCenter.

CSU to Extend Fall 2019 Application Period to December 15
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1/18/20191/18/2019 10:50 AMThe CSU will honor four faculty and one staff member with the prestigious Wang Family Excellence Awards for their extraordinary commitment to student achievement and exemplary contributions in their respective fields.
CSU Faculty, Staff Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Student Success Press Release
CSU-Funding-Priorities-Supported-in-Governors-2019-20-Budget-Proposal.aspx
  
1/10/20191/10/2019 11:15 AM​The $300 million in funding for the CSU proposed by Governor Newsom will allow CSU to provide increased access to a high-quality education to more qualified students, continue to improve student achievement and reduce equity gaps.
CSU Funding Priorities Supported in Governor's 2019-20 Budget ProposalBudgetPress Release
CSU-San-Marcos-Presidential-Search-Committee-to-Hold-First-Meeting.aspx
  
11/15/201811/15/2018 9:30 AMThe CSU Board of Trustees is beginning the search for a new president of California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) to succeed Dr. Karen Haynes, who is retiring in June 2019.
CSU San Marcos Presidential Search Committee to Hold First MeetingLeadershipPress Release
CSU-to-Extend-Fall-2019-Application-Period-to-December-15.aspx
  
11/9/201811/9/2018 12:25 PMWith many prospective students, their families and communities facing hardship due to wildfires affecting the entire state, the CSU is extending the priority application deadline for fall 2019 admission to December 15.
CSU to Extend Fall 2019 Application Period to December 15ApplyPress Release
Chancellor-White-Releases-Statement-on-Thousand-Oaks-Shooting.aspx
  
11/8/201811/8/2018 3:05 PM“All of us in the California State University extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those whose loved ones were lost or injured at the Borderline Bar and Grill on Wednesday evening."
Statement from CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White on Thousand Oaks ShootingPress Release
Cal-State-Fullerton-Presidential-Search-Committee-to-Hold-First-Meeting.aspx
  
10/25/201810/25/2018 10:00 AMThe first meeting of the Trustees' Committee for the Selection of the President will be held in an open forum from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, in Meng Hall in the Clayes Performing Arts Center on the CSUF campus.
Cal State Fullerton Presidential Search Committee to Hold First MeetingLeadershipPress Release
Student-Success-at-the-California-State-University-Reaches-All-time-Highs.aspx
  
10/17/201810/17/2018 8:55 AMUniversity-wide efforts to support students through the Graduation Initiative 2025 lead to record levels of student achievementUniversity-wide efforts to support students through the Graduation Initiative 2025 lead to record levels of student achievement.
Student Success at the California State University Reaches All-time HighsGraduation InitiativePress Release
Statement-from-CSU-Chancellor-Timothy-P-White-on-the-Pending-Retirement-of-HSU-President-Lisa-A-Rossbacher.aspx
  
10/1/201810/1/2018 11:05 AM“While working in one of the CSU’s most unique environments, President Rossbacher’s long-standing commitment to improving student success was always apparent."
Statement from CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White on Pending Retirement of HSU President Lisa A. RossbacherLeadershipPress Release
Statement-from-CSU-Chancellor-Timothy-P-White-on-the-Pending-Retirement-of-SFSU-President-Leslie-E-Wong.aspx
  
10/1/201810/1/2018 9:15 AM“Under President Wong’s leadership, San Francisco State has made remarkable progress in improving student success with graduation rates reaching all-time highs."
Statement from CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White on Pending Retirement of SFSU President Leslie E. WongLeadershipPress Release
CSU-Campuses-Begin-Accepting-Fall-2019-Applications-October-1.aspx
  
9/26/20189/26/2018 9:30 AMBeginning October 1, all 23 CSU campuses will accept applications for admission to the fall 2019 term.
CSU Campuses Begin Accepting Fall 2019 Applications October 1ApplyPress Release
Statement-from-CSU-Chancellor-Timothy-P-White-on-the-Pending-Retirement-of-CSUSM-President-Karen-Haynes.aspx
  
9/25/20189/25/2018 4:05 PM“President Haynes’ focus on student achievement has been a constant during an unprecedented period of growth and transition at Cal State San Marcos. Under her stewardship, academic programs, facilities and athletics have all improved and expanded."
Statement from CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White on the Pending Retirement of CSUSM President Karen HaynesLeadershipPress Release
Evelyn-Nazario-Appointed-CSU-Vice-Chancellor-for-Human-Resources.aspx
  
9/12/20189/12/2018 8:45 AMCSU Chancellor Timothy P. White has appointed Evelyn Nazario to serve as the university’s vice chancellor for human resources.
Evelyn Nazario
Evelyn Nazario Appointed CSU Vice Chancellor for Human ResourcesLeadershipPress Release
California-State-University-Honors-Top-Student-Scholars.aspx
  
9/6/20189/6/2018 9:00 AMTwenty-three students—one from each campus of the California State University—have been selected to receive the 2018 Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement, the university’s highest recognition of student achievement.
California State University Honors Top Student ScholarsStudent SuccessPress Release
26-CSU-Faculty-Recognized-for-Innovative-Practices-Improving-Student-Achievement.aspx
  
8/28/20188/28/2018 8:15 AMThe awards recognize faculty leaders who have implemented innovative practices that significantly improve student success. Award recipients teach and have expertise in a variety of fields from accounting to social work to mathematics.
Science professor with students
Science professor with students
26 CSU Faculty Recognized for Innovative Practices Improving Student AchievementFacultyPress Release
CSU-Campuses-Receive-7.1M-to-Support-STEM-Educators.aspx
  
7/30/20187/30/2018 12:00 PMNSF scholarships will put expert science and math teachers in high-need schoolsNSF scholarships will put expert science and math teachers in high-need schools.
CSU Campuses Receive $7.1M to Support STEM EducatorsTeacher PreparationPress Release
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CSU-Online-Programs-Wired-for-Success.aspx
  
1/15/20191/15/2019 9:30 AMU.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of online degree programs highlight CSU campuses as some of the best in the nation.Online EducationStory
CSU Online Programs Wired for Success
The-Fires-of-2018.aspx
  
1/15/20191/15/2019 8:00 AMAfter California’s devastating fire season, leading CSU experts weigh in on how our people and land are recovering.CaliforniaStory
The Fires of 2018: What Happens Now?
CSU-Rankings-and-Recognition-2018-in-Review.aspx
  
12/13/201812/13/2018 10:00 AMTake a look back at highlights from 2018: A year that saw the CSU receive significant recognition for providing students with opportunities for upward mobility.Social MobilityStory
2018 in Review: CSU Campuses Recognized for Opportunity and Value
the-fuels-of-the-future.aspx
  
12/13/201812/13/2018 12:00 AMNo one can say for certain what will power our vehicles in the decades to come, but CSU faculty offer some very educated guesses.CaliforniaStory
The Fuels of the Future
betting-on-batteries.aspx
  
12/10/201812/10/2018 9:00 AMCalifornia is all in on electricity when it comes to clean transportation. But don't write off hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and others just yet. See how the CSU is keeping the state at the forefront of sustainable fuels. CaliforniaStory
Alternative Fuels: Betting on Batteries
Blazing-Her-Own-Trail.aspx
  
12/4/201812/4/2018 9:00 AMFor Humboldt State student Tenaya Wood, fighting wildfire is a way of life. Find out how growing up in a firefighting family and what she's learning at the CSU are fueling her future.CaliforniaStory
Blazing Her Own Trail
Making-Fossil-Fuels-A-Little-Greener.aspx
  
11/29/201811/29/2018 11:00 AMCalifornia leads the nation in finding more sustainable ways to fuel cars. But gas and oil aren't going away just yet, so the CSU is helping to make them cleaner and more efficient. CaliforniaStory
Making Fossil Fuels A Little Greener
The-CSUs-Center-of-Community-Engagement-Celebrates-20-Years-of-Student-Success.aspx
  
11/28/201811/28/2018 8:35 AMThe Center's stellar faculty and programs have led the university toward increasing inclusivity, equity and student achievement for the past 20 years.Service LearningStory
The CSU's Center for Community Engagement Celebrates 20 Years of Student Success
CSU-Receives-Support-to-Help-Solve-Teacher-Shortage.aspx
  
11/21/201811/21/2018 12:30 PMCalifornia State University campuses received nearly $26 million in grants from the United States Department of Education to help address California’s teacher shortage and recruit diverse teaching candidates. Teacher PreparationStory
$26M in Awards Boost CSU Efforts to Reduce Teacher Shortage
fall-2019-application-season-closing.aspx
  
11/19/201811/19/2018 8:00 AMThere’s still time to get in your application, but the deadline is coming up fast.ApplyStory
Fall 2019 Application Season Closes November 30
The CSU Fall 2019 Application Season is Closing Soon. Have You Applied Yet?
meet-crew-7.aspx
  
11/15/201811/15/2018 9:00 AMGet to know 20 exceptional California wildland firefighters—many of whom are CSU students and alumni—working hard to stop wildfires and save communities. CaliforniaStory
Wildland Firefighters and the CSU: Meet Crew 7
veterans-to-energy-careers.aspx
  
11/7/201811/7/2018 8:40 AMVTEC, a three-year-old program out of CSU San Marcos, matches student veterans across CSU campuses to internships in STEM-related fields, then helps them find employment once they graduate. VeteransStory
Veterans to Energy Careers (VTEC)
Vets Make Good Scientists and Engineers. This CSU Program Helps Them Get a Job.
understanding-fire.aspx
  
10/29/201810/29/2018 8:00 AMThere's a new urgency to find better ways to fight and prevent wildfires in California. Discover how CSU faculty and students are doing just that.CaliforniaStory
Understanding Wildfire in California: What the CSU is Learning
Celebrating-200-Years-of-Frankenstein.aspx
  
10/26/201810/26/2018 2:35 PMThe creature brought to life by Dr. Victor Frankenstein is as relevant now as when Mary Shelley created him in 1818.  CommunityStory
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Turns 200
It's Still Alive! ‘Frankenstein’ Turns 200
Celebrating-CSUs-Women-Leaders.aspx
  
10/25/201810/25/2018 2:00 PMHigher education leaders gathered at Cal State San Marcos Oct. 18 to celebrate the CSU's women presidents who now make up more than half of campus leadership.LeadershipStory
Celebrating CSU's Women Leaders
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