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4/17/2019 3:44 PMKelly, Hazel4/17/20194/17/2019 9:00 AMBuilding mini satellites. Designing next-level rockets. Witnessing a Mars landing. It's all in a day's work for these talented CSU students.TechnologyStory
Space

the Sky's Not the Limit

Building mini satellites. Designing next-level rockets. Witnessing a Mars landing. It's all in a day's work for these talented CSU students.


 

California has been a hotbed of innovation in aerospace and defense since the 1940s. So it comes as little surprise that so many California State University faculty, students and alumni continue to play an important role in an industry that's not just critical to the state's economy but to the advancement of ​space exploration. Read on to learn about a few of the space-related projects at CSU campuses, each creating an essential pipeline for launching the next generation of space explorers.


SMALL SATELLITES, BIG DEAL
Cal Poly’s student-built, pint-sized CubeSats are changing the way we research space.

Step into the PolySat Lab at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and you'll almost certainly spot shiny Rubik's Cube-like structures and cereal-box-sized models scattered around workspaces. These electronic boxes are actually miniature satellites called CubeSats. In spite of their relatively small size (they typically weigh less than 10 pounds), they're helping to transform the modern space race, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is one of the universities where it all started.

First designed in the late 1990s as a way for students to get hands-on experience in building satellites for space research, the CubeSat standard (created by Cal Poly professor Jordi Puig-Suari and Stanford professor Bob Twiggs) is now used all over the world in both education and industry. CubeSats are regularly launched into orbit around the earth and beyond—usually hitching a ride on a rocket as part of a big satellite mission—where they collect data, take pictures and carry out much of what larger, much costlier satellites do.

Since Cal Poly SLO's student-run PolySat program began in 1999, teams have launched 10 CubeSats into space and continue to develop satellites in partnership with other universities, industry and government agencies.

“Being a part of PolySat has given me confidence that I am capable of building satellites and being a manager. I also got the opportunity to interact with people in industry at my dream jobs. It's been a great pathway into aerospace."

Arielle Cohen, PolySat lab manager and Cal Poly electrical engineering senior. After graduating in June 2019, Cohen will work for Northrop Grumman.

When it comes to student-built satellites, Cal Poly ranks among the top five universities in the world, says Amelia Greig, Ph.D., assistant professor of aerospace engineering at Cal Poly and a PolySat faculty advisor. “There are only a few other places in the U.S. with very active programs like Cal Poly," she notes. “But there's not a huge amount of universities that have done as many missions and have been going as long as we have."

Why are these little satellites such a big deal? “Because the CubeSat is smaller and cheaper to both build and launch, it has made space [research] accessible," explains Dr. Greig. “Universities can now build their own satellites…so it's opened space to more people."

4 Amazing Things CubeSats Can Do

 

SURVIVE IN DEEP SPACE

MarCO, the first interplanetary CubeSat mission, made it possible for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to communicate with the InSight lander when it reached Mars in November 2018.

Learn More
 

FIND PLANETS IN OTHER SOLAR SYSTEMS

NASA's ASTERIA CubeSat is a mini space telescope in low Earth orbit that's searching for planets traveling in front of nearby bright stars.

Learn More
 

EXPLORE ICE ON THE MOON

NASA's Lunar Flashlight mission expects to send a CubeSat that will point lasers at the shaded polar regions of the moon to explore ice deposits.

Learn More
 

MAKE IT BACK TO EARTH IN ONE PIECE

The TechEdSat 8, designed by NASA and San José State University, is testing out ways for CubeSats to be returned to Earth (rather than burning up in the atmosphere), saving costs on space missions.

Learn More

Taking Part in a History-Making Mission

PolySat assistant lab manager Justin Nguyen and lab aerospace engineer Cassandra Kraver were interning at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena when the Mars InSight landed on the red planet in November 2018. The Atlas V rocket that deployed the InSight lander also deployed two JPL-built CubeSats called MarCO-A and MarCO-B. Kraver and Nguyen were in the mission control room when the first transmissions were received from the first-ever interplanetary CubeSats: 

Play Meet Emily Videox

Student-Built Spacecraft: Small But Mighty

 
 
 
PROPELLED TO SUCCEED
Student rocketry takes Cal Poly Pomona and CSU Long Beach students to new heights.

Humans have been experimenting with launching objects into the sky for millennia, and our fascination with rockets has yet to dim. And while at least one civilian amateur rocketry team has launched a rocket that reached space, no university team has done it yet. (For a rocket to officially reach space, it must ascend to an altitude of 330,000 feet, or 62 miles above Earth, crossing an invisible boundary called the Karman line. See "How High is Space?" below.)

“That tells you something," says Frank O. Chandler, Ph.D., assistant professor of aerospace at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and faculty advisor for the Liquid Rocketry Lab. “It's really hard to do!" But it's something that student rocketeers hope to accomplish eventually.

Difficult or not, students who work on building rockets, either through an academic or student-led program, gain valuable skills that can propel them into careers in aerospace and beyond.  

How High is Space?

Ever wonder where the Earth’s atmosphere ends and space begins? Hover over the dots below to learn more.

      

Exosphere

The exosphere is sometimes considered to be the upper limit of our atmosphere as it fades into deep outer space. There is no clear upper boundary, but some estimate it extends about 6,200 miles out.

Thermosphere (about 372 miles high)

This layer is where you’ll find low Earth orbit satellites, like CubeSats, and sometimes the International Space Station.

The Karman line (62 miles)

This is the invisible boundary between the Earth’s atmosphere and “outer space,” at 62 miles or 330,000 feet up.

Mesosphere (about 53 miles high)

The mesosphere is where “near space” begins. This region is above where commercial airliners can fly but below orbiting satellites. Meteors burn up here.

Stratosphere (about 31 miles high)

Commercial airliners reach cruising altitude at about 35,000 feet, or 6.6 miles high, just into the Earth’s stratosphere (which avoids the turbulent weather of the troposphere). The ozone layer lives here.

Troposphere (0 to about 9 miles)

This first layer of Earth’s atmosphere is where nearly all weather conditions take place. (Mount Everest is about 5.5 miles high.)

Bronco 1, a more-than 15-foot-tall rocket, is fueled by a combination of liquid methane and liquid oxygen. Methane is the aerospace industry’s fuel of choice in the latest rocket designs.

Liquid-fueled rockets are generally more complex than solid-engine rockets. Liquid rockets require pumps, piping and pressure tanks and tend to perform more efficiently. Solid rockets generally cost less and are easier to store, explains Cal Poly Pomona aerospace student Eric Gonzalez. Courtesy of Cal Poly Pomona

"I just know these students are going to be quickly picked up. The industry is looking for students like this. I would absolutely hire a student who went through the rocketry program at Cal Poly Pomona. To train the next generation to be productive in the workforce—that is our real mantra here."

— Dr. Frank O. Chandler, assistant professor of aerospace, Cal Poly Pomona


The Cal Poly Pomona Liquid Rocketry Lab is divided into three key groups: the engine team, the launch vehicle (the rest of the rocket) and the mobile test stand (which allows testing while anchored to the ground). Courtesy of Cal Poly Pomona

When a rocket reaches its highest point, it’s called the apogee. This is when a small parachute will deploy to stabilize its descent. A large secondary parachute deploys when the rocket reaches about 1,000 feet from the ground so it can land gently and be re-used. Courtesy of Cal Poly Pomona


(Almost) Ready for Blast-off

 

Rachel Lauf

CSU Long Beach

Fourth-year aerospace engineering student

Team lead for CSULB's student-run Long Beach Rocketry which designs, builds and launches solid rockets to compete in NASA's annual Student Launch Competition

 

“Growing up in Montana, I would look up at night and see so many stars, just wondering what was out there. I wanted to be a part of exploring that … I just returned from this year's competition at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where we placed third for the payload design award. … I think a lack of experience tends to hold people back [from joining student project clubs]. If you can just get past that first step, go to that first club meeting, and show you are eager. These are the students we need—freshmen and sophomores who are excited to learn. We're always trying to bring in the next generation as the seniors move on."

 

Lauf plans to graduate in fall 2019 and will intern with Northrop Grumman in summer 2019.

 

Eric Gonzalez

Cal Poly Pomona

Fourth-year aerospace engineering student

Liquid engine systems lead for CPP's Liquid Rocketry Lab, which is building a rocket to qualify for the 2020 Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR)-Mars Launch Contest

 

“The leadership and project experiences I have gained from the Liquid Rocketry Lab have given me confidence during job interviews. It's the first big leadership role I've had… We're the first wave of students who initially established the program [as it transitioned from student-led to academic program], so it's very personal to us. It's who we are. We spend a lot of time and we work really hard. We're learning by doing and we make mistakes. We learn from those mistakes…  We've seen considerable growth in just one year. A lot of underclassmen have joined already—they come to school knowing about it."

 

After graduating in May 2019, Gonzalez will work for Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale, California.

 
 

Mark Murphy

Cal Poly Pomona

Fourth-year aerospace engineering student

Launch vehicle chief systems engineer for CPP's Liquid Rocketry Lab, which is building a rocket to qualify for the 2020 Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR)-Mars Launch Contest

 

“I enjoy seeing the mentor-mentee relationships between the upper and lower classmen—it's a culture we're trying to foster in the lab. It's the best way to achieve a long-term lab—you have to have a way to pass on the knowledge to the younger generation… I would recommend it to any engineering student. It prepares you so well for what you might do post-college… On launch days, you're usually kind of sleep-deprived because you've stayed up really late the night before. It's this weird anxious feeling… the rocket either goes up, or it blows up… but once it leaves the launch rail and then we see the main parachute deploy, there's nothing that can go wrong. That's when everyone starts to have a good time."  

 

Murphy plans to graduate in fall 2019, when he'll pursue a career in aerodynamics or structural analysis in aerospace.

Launching a Career in Aerospace

Hands-on project experiences like building rockets and designing mini satellites set CSU students up for career success. The ability to work in a hierarchical lab environment, manage project timelines and see a project through from start to finish are just a few of the transferrable skills students gain.

Cal Poly Pomona’s Dr. Chandler says the aerospace industry currently has a huge need for new engineering hires—both the big companies like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, as well as newer players like Blue Origin, SpaceX and Vector.

Here are some of the majors putting CSU students on the right trajectory:

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Software Engineering
  •  

Search CSU Degrees


The Sky's Not the Limit
CSU-Awards-Inaugural-Grants-to-Support-Student-Well-Being-.aspx
  
4/17/2019 9:39 AMPaik, Jae4/4/20194/4/2019 9:35 AMThe CSU Chancellor’s Office has awarded inaugural mini-grants to CSU faculty, staff and students in support of basic needs and student well-being. Basic Needs InitiativeStory
​​​​The CSU Chancellor’s Office has awarded inaugural mini-grants to CSU faculty, staff and students in support of basic needs and student well-being. The funding will go toward identifying ways to connect students with available campus resources and removing barriers to a degree.

Seven student researchers, 10 faculty members and 14 campuses were awarded grants, many of which are aimed at incorporating sustainability and service learning to supply campus food pantries with fresh fruits and vegetables to supplement non-perishable items. 

The grants are a part of the CSU’s Basic Needs Initiative. Student engagement and well-being are a key pillar of Graduation Initiative 2025, which is implementing strategies to support students on their path to graduation. 

All 23 CSU campuses currently have a food pantry or food distribution program and staff who manage these programs help connect students to on-and-off campus resources, including CalFresh.

Grown by Students for Students

Many campuses work with community partners to supply their food pantries with fresh produce, but some are also growing their own produce through campus farms and gardens. Through this, faculty and students from multiple disciplines come together to learn about sustainability and agriculture, and educate the campus community about food insecurity.

California State University, Dominguez Hills received a research grant to expand its efforts to grow produce through the Campus Urban Farm, an outdoor classroom, lab and garden. The farm was funded through the CSU’s “Campus as a Living Lab” grant program in 2018 to support the study of urban agriculture and sustainability.

The farm quickly grew to provide fresh produce for the Toro Food Pantry’s multiple locations, and staff now host pop-up pantries and deliver produce to residence halls to meet students where they are. To date, the farm has provided more than 50 pounds of food to students since spring 2018.

Jenney Hall, Ph.D., a professor of interdisciplinary and environmental studies at CSU Dominguez Hills, says staff began to realize that much of the donated produce was not taken by students for a variety of reasons, including that many students are unfamiliar with how to prepare the produce. 

“We are living in a food desert—an urban area where it’s hard to find fresh fruits and vegetables,” says Hall. “Many of our students are using their local convenience store as a grocery store because they don’t have a lot of options or haven’t been raised in a culture where fresh, organic produce is used a lot.”

Hall and her colleagues plan to use some of the grant funding to connect the farm to electricity, among several initiatives, so they can eventually build a demonstration kitchen in which students learn how to prepare nutritious meals with the fruits and vegetables provided by the farm.

Building Leaders through Service Learning

California State University San Marcos received both a faculty research grant and a community garden grant and plans to use the funding to expand the Sustainable Food Project (SFP), a living lab begun by CSU San Marcos professor Greig Tor Guthey in 2012, and begin to supply fresh produce for the Cougar Pantry.

Students from all disciplines will be invited to participate in food justice projects, which focus on providing access to fresh, healthy food items to underserved communities. Gabriel Valle, assistant professor of environmental studies at CSUSM, says grant funding will also be used to track a cohort of student volunteers to determine the impact participating in food justice projects has. 

“We already know there are major benefits of participating in community-based service learning, such as building leadership skills and becoming more civically-engaged,” says Valle. “But we want to document the true impact of empowering students to produce food for their peers.”

Campus staff are in the beginning stages of expanding the SFP and are incorporating student researchers to help identify the best crops to grow to serve students’ tastes and best practices for reaching underserved students once the crops are harvested.

For a full list of awardees and projects, visit the page for Basic Needs mini-grant opportunities. 
Students with fresh fruits and vegetables
CSU Awards Grants to Support Student Well-Being
CSU-Summer-Arts-Polishes-Students-Talents-for-Future-Careers-in-Art.aspx
  
4/17/2019 10:11 AMPaik, Jae3/27/20193/27/2019 9:20 AMCalling all artists, dancers, writers and actors! CSU Summer Arts is back and is currently accepting applications for summer 2019. EducationStory

​​​​Calling all artists, dancers, writers and actors! CSU Summer Arts is back and is currently accepting applications for summer 2019.

Students from any CSU campus can master their craft with world-renowned artists in music, theatre, dance, media, creative writing, visual art and design. For two to four weeks in July, students will reside on the Fresno State campus to work side-by-side with industry professionals as well as faculty experts in their respective fields. The program is highly collaborative, leaving students fully transformed and polished for future careers in the arts.

“The experience catapults students' practice light years ahead of where they were when they began," says Samantha Fields, professor of art at CSUN and Summer Arts course coordinator. “Students emerge with a greater sense of purpose, a more sophisticated studio practice and a fuller understanding of what it takes to be a working contemporary artist."

Guest artists that will be teaching courses this year include the acclaimed Diavolo Dance Company, award-winning artist Daniel Keys and Hollywood industry veteran Hal Masonberg.

In addition to the courses at Fresno State, Summer Arts also offers study-abroad courses called Art in Place, where students can study their art at the geographical location where it originated and flourished. This summer, a course on classical guitar, called La Guitarra Española, will be held in Granada, Spain, and a course on Japanese ceramics will be taught in Echizen and Kyoto, Japan.

Summer Arts is an opportunity for pre-professional and master students to advance their talents while earning credits toward their degree. In support of Graduation Initiative 2025, students can earn up to six transferable units, allowing them to graduate in a timely manner. Seventy percent of students who participated in last year's Summer Arts applied their earned units toward a degree.

Scholarships are available to cover part or all of a student's enrollment fees. There is only one scholarship application form, and all applicants will be considered for the maximum amount of aid available to them. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of both financial need and talent. Every year, an average of 80 percent of Summer Arts students receive scholarships.

Since 1985, CSU Summer Arts has been nurturing the artistic talents of students from across the university. The high-impact program houses participants together, providing an immersive educational experience for two to four weeks. The program culminates with the annual CSU Summer Arts Festival, a celebratory event that's open to the public and showcases students' talents to hundreds of community members, students and parents.

Application deadline for CSU Summer Arts 2019 is between April 28 and May 13, depending on the course. For more information or to apply, visit https://www2.calstate.edu/SummerArts/.

Students performing on stage
CSU Summer Arts Polishes Students' Talents for Future Careers in Art
To-the-Ends-of-the-Earth.aspx
  
4/17/2019 10:30 AMTram, Daniel3/26/20193/26/2019 9:00 AMAntarctica is among the best places in the world to see the effects of climate change in action. Meet four women of the CSU whose work is taking them here on an urgent quest to find solutions.ResearchStory
Antarctica

To the Ends of the Earth

Antarctica is among the best places in the world to see the effects of climate change in action. Meet four women of the CSU whose work is taking them here on an urgent quest to find solutions.

Men have explored Antarctica in the name of science since the early 1900s, but it wasn't until 1955 that the first woman scientist set foot on Earth's most remote continent. In celebration of Women's History Month, we take a look at four remarkable women at the CSU currently making an impact with their work in Antarctica.

BENEATH THE ICE 
Kathy Kasic | Sacramento State
Kathy Kasic
Photo courtesy of Billy Collins

"The feeling of discovering a lake together created a tight camaraderie that will stay with us for the rest of our lives."

— Kathy Kasic, Sacramento State film professor, of the expedition to explore a subglacial lake

Thousands of feet below the ice sheet of western Antarctica sits a lake that probably hasn't seen the light of day for over 100,000 years. But in January 2019, scientists from the Subglacial Antarctic Lakes Scientific Access (SALSA) project were able to access water and sediment samples from the ancient Subglacial Lake Mercer to explore its hidden ecosystem. 

Antarctica is home to a network of subglacial lakes and the SALSA project is only the second time researchers could use clean drilling techniques to obtain samples. (The first was the 2009-14 WISSARD project.)

Kathy Kasic, a Sacramento State film professor and cinematographer, was there to document this remarkable feat. In late January, Kasic returned from the six-week expedition and began work on a documentary that will tell the story of SALSA's successful exploration 4,000 feet beneath the Antarctic ice sheet.

The National Science Foundation-funded project included a team of 50 researchers and support staff who used hot water ice-drilling techniques to retrieve samples for further study. Scientists hope to learn what kinds of organisms once lived in the lake, the movement of water beneath the ice and how ice sheet dynamics will affect global sea level rise.

Drill and borehole

The SALSA hot water drill and borehole extend 3,500 feet down into the Antarctic Subglacial Lake Mercer. A high-powered UV light collar surrounds the hole to kill any microbes on science instruments that could contaminate the lake. Subglacial lakes are permanently cold and dark environments that could add to our understanding of the evolution of life in these extreme environments on Earth and other planets. Photo courtesy of Billy Collins

Kasic, one of 11 principal investigators (PIs) from eight U.S. institutions and one of only two female PIs, found the experience transformative: “The feeling of discovering a lake together, thousands of feet beneath the surface of the ice, reaching into the darkness to shine light on the hidden secrets of our planet, created a tight camaraderie that will stay with us for the rest of our lives," says Kasic, a former biologist, of the trip. 

Kasic's hour-long PBS documentary about the expedition will air sometime in 2020.  Starting in October 2019, the SALSA website will show Kasic's two shorter films about the expedition, and PBS Learning Media will host educational materials created by Kasic.

Tents on the ice

SALSA researchers camped in tents on the ice, which often became drifted over with snow during high winds. The sun shines through the night during Antarctica's summer, so the tents actually stayed warm, says Kathy Kasic. Photo courtesy of Billy Collins

The researchers collected a 5.5-foot core

SALSA is the first project to use a gravity corer to sample deep sediment cores from a subglacial lake. The researchers collected a 5.5-foot core from 3,500 feet below the ice, making it the largest core ever sampled from a subglacial lake. Photo courtesy of Billy Collins


 
 
THE PERSISTENCE OF THE EMPEROR PENGUIN
Dr. Gitte McDonald | CSU Moss Landing Marine Laboratories
Dr. Gitte McDonald
Photo courtesy of Greg Marshall

"Our research on the ecology and physiology of Antarctic predators such as penguins helps us predict how these animals will respond to a changing climate."

— Dr. Gitte McDonald, professor, CSU Moss Landing Marine Laboratories

When Birgitte (Gitte) McDonald, Ph.D. heads to Antarctica in October 2019, it will mark her 12th time to the coldest continent. She has studied seals, sea lions and birds; her upcoming expedition will focus on the feeding habits of the emperor penguin. Dr. McDonald is an assistant professor of vertebrate ecology at the CSU's Moss Landing Marine Labs, a research consortium supported by seven CSU campuses, with San José State​ as the administrative campus. She and graduate student Parker Forman will join a collaborative field expedition funded by National Geographic and others to the western Ross Sea, the world's largest marine preserve.​

“This study fills important knowledge gaps on [caloric intake], diet, foraging strategy and habitat use of emperor penguins during a critical time," explains McDonald, who received her master's from Sonoma State. “By studying animals in extreme environments we can learn more about their physiological limits." 

Knowing how animals survive in the Antarctic helps scientists predict, and possibly mitigate, how they're affected by climate change.  

Observing an emperor penguin

Dr. Birgitte McDonald observes an emperor penguin during an Antarctic expedition in 2010.  Photo courtesy of P. Ponganis

At the Vertebrate Ecology Lab, McDonald serves as primary mentor to eight students, including six women. Her goal is to give students experience with a wide range of field and lab work, analysis and communication, all of which they get to practice when sharing their work at lab meetings and professional conferences.

In summer 2019, Dr. McDonald will begin blogging about her upcoming expedition on the Moss Landing Marine Labs' site .


ICE-BREAKING LEADERSHIP
Dr. Kerry Nickols | CSU Northridge
Dr. Kerry Nickols
Photo courtesy of Melania Guerra

"Being down there and connecting with nature and being inspired by other women, I learned how to be optimistic. We have to solve climate change because there’s no other option."

— Dr. Kerry Nickols, CSU Northridge biology professor, of Homeward Bound women’s leadership expedition

On January 24, 2019, Kerry Nickols, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology at CSU Northridge, flew back to Los Angeles after a 20-day journey to Antarctica aboard the ship MV Ushuaia. Dr. Nickols was part of Homeward Bound, an all-women leadership program that included 80 women from 27 countries in various STEM fields.

Nickols, whose research focuses on marine-protected areas and how they're affected by climate change, found the expedition eye-opening. Sadly, Antarctica is one place where it's easy to see climate change at work. One powerful example for Nickols was witnessing thousands of Adélie penguins, a species threatened by climate change, nesting on Paulette Island. Other populations of these birds have been pushed out of their habitats further south due to changing sea ice conditions that affect their nesting grounds.

Group picture

While Dr. Kerry Nickols has long worked to mitigate climate change, the Homeward Bound experience reinvigorated her resolve. “It felt like we were really trying to make change tangible. I feel more connected to the future of the planet and more empowered to make a difference," Nickols says, adding that she now has a bigger support network and a better understanding of the global scale of both environmental problems and solutions. Photo courtesy of Sofia Oiseth

“Being down there and connecting with nature and being inspired by other women…I learned how to be optimistic," says Nickols. “We have to solve climate change because there's no other option."

Back at CSUN, the leadership training she received has made the biologist think more about the ways she mentors and communicates with her students. “I want to be the most constructive and effective leader I can be," she says, adding that Homeward Bound helped reinvigorate her passion for conducting science that serves a greater purpose—a commitment she shares with her students.

“Many of us [in Homeward Bound] felt like we were blown open. It's hard not to feel that way when you're in Antarctica. It's just such a compelling place to be. It's hard not to feel like you want to do something more when you're there."


LEARNING HOW SEAL PUPS SURVIVE
Dr. Heather Liwanag | Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Seal pups
Image taken under NMFS permit #21006

"My research experience in Antarctica taught me so many things… You can learn a lot about yourself when you are working crazy long, hard days."

— Emma Weitzner, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo graduate student, of baby Weddell seal research

Heather Liwanag, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, spends a lot of her time in Antarctica with adorable baby Weddell seals, but she's not there to play. The research she and her team are doing should tell us more about how these young seals grow into champion divers, even in such extreme conditions.

“These animals are an important piece of the Antarctic ecosystem, which is the last near-pristine ecosystem on Earth. Understanding their development will help us to get a better understanding of polar seals in general, all of which are threatened by climate change," says Dr. Liwanag. 

The transition from pup to adult is the most critical time for the animals' survival, and Liwanag wants to find out how these pups stay warm and develop their ability to dive.

In 2017, Liwanag and her team, which included Cal Poly graduate student Emma Weitzner, spent 10 weeks observing pups at McMurdo Station, the largest research station in Antarctica. Liwanag will return for more pup research later in 2019.

Dr. Heather Liwanag

Dr. Heather Liwanag and her team monitored and named their first group of seal pups during the fall  2017 expedition. Working with each pup week after week, the scientists got to know their unique personalities.

Researcher  Emma Weitzner

Tracking down seal pups for sampling can be complicated. In 2017, graduate student researcher Emma Weitzner blogged about a case of mistaken seal pup identity on the project's website


Weitzner, who hopes to earn her master's in spring 2019, plans to pursue a Ph.D. in comparative physiology. “My research experience in Antarctica taught me so many things, from how to work well in a small team in harsh conditions to how to draw blood from a seal and even how to change the spark plugs in a snowmobile! You can learn a lot about yourself when you are working crazy long, hard days."

Liwanag's advice for women interested in pursuing science? “Keep pushing forward. Take every opportunity you can, even if it's not exactly what you think you want to do. In science, being passionate and excited about asking questions and learning new things is what keeps you going, even when times are tough." 

Visit Growing Up On Ice , the project's website, to learn more and see more adorable baby seal photographs. 


Story: Hazel Kelly

photoGRAPHY: SEE CREDITS ABOVE 

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Antarctica
CSU Women in Antarctica: To the Ends of the Earth
Ellen-J-Neufeldt-Appointed-President-of-Cal-State-San-Marcos.aspx
  
4/9/2019 8:40 AMParch, Lorie3/20/20193/20/2019 8:05 AMThe CSU Board of Trustees has appointed Ellen J. Neufeldt, Ed.D., to serve as president of California State University San Marcos. LeadershipPress Release

​​​The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees has appointed Ellen J. Neufeldt, Ed.D., to serve as president of California State University San Marcos (CSUSM). Neufeldt currently serves as vice president of student engagement and enrollment services for Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Virginia.

“I am thrilled about the opportunity to work with CSUSM's exceptional faculty, staff and growing number of supporters to reach new levels of achievement for current and future students," said Neufeldt. “There has been remarkable growth both on the campus and in the local community and the opportunity for additional growth still remains. This is an exciting time for the campus and the prospects are limitless."

Neufeldt becomes the fourth president of CSUSM. She will join the campus in her new capacity in July. Neufeldt succeeds Karen Haynes who will be retiring at the end of June​ 2019 after serving as CSUSM president for 16 years.

“Dr. Neufeldt has been a visionary leader who has demonstrated a commitment to student success throughout her career," said CSU Trustee Jean Picker Firstenberg, chair of the CSUSM search committee. “She brings a wealth of experience, and will serve as an inspirational leader on the campus and in the community."

Neufeldt has served as a vice president at ODU since 2011 where she leads the areas of student engagement, student success enrollment services, government relations, Institutional research, marketing and public relations. Her previous higher education leadership roles include service as vice president of student affairs at Salisbury University and assistant vice chancellor for student development and dean of student life at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where she also served as the assistant dean of students.

Neufeldt earned a bachelor's degree in business administration, and a master's in educational psychology and counselor education from Tennessee Technological University, and a doctorate of education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

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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.

Ellen J. Neufeldt Appointed President of California State University San Marcos
Framroze-Virjee-Appointed-President-of-Cal-State-Fullerton.aspx
  
4/9/2019 8:41 AMParch, Lorie3/20/20193/20/2019 8:00 AMThe CSU Board of Trustees has appointed Framroze “Fram" Virjee to serve as president of California State University, Fullerton. LeadershipPress Release

​​​​The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees has appointed Framroze “Fram" Virjee to serve as president of California State University, Fullerton (CSUF). Virjee has been serving as campus president under a term appointment since January 2018 and will assume the permanent presidency immediately.​

“Joining the Titan family has been the most rewarding professional experience of my career," said Virjee. “I am thrilled at the opportunity to continue working alongside the tremendously talented faculty, staff and administrators to further the great work enabling student achievement and degree completion that we've started, and to chart the path forward for CSUF."

Virjee becomes the sixth permanent president of CSUF. He succeeds Mildred García who was appointed president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) in November​ 2017. Virjee was subsequently appointed by CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White to serve as president of CSUF until the next president was appointed by the Board of Trustees, and he has served in that capacity since García's departure.

“We conducted a national search that included many exemplary candidates, and it became apparent that the best person to be the next president of CSUF was already serving the campus," said CSU Trustee Silas Abrego, chair of the CSUF search committee. “In his time leading CSUF, Fram has demonstrated unbridled energy and passion for the campus and students, and under his leadership CSUF will reach even greater heights."

From January 2014 through December 2017, Virjee served as executive vice chancellor, general counsel and secretary to the CSU Board of Trustees. In that capacity, Virjee led a staff of attorneys, paralegals and support personnel, and oversaw all legal services for the 23-campus CSU. Virjee also served as chief legal officer to the Board of Trustees, advising them on all legal issues including open meeting laws, board rules and procedures and education code compliance.

Prior to joining CSU, Virjee was a partner in private practice for almost 30 years at O'Melveny & Myers, the oldest law firm in Los Angeles and one of the largest in the nation. At O'Melveny, Virjee specialized in labor and employment law with an emphasis in representing educational institutions in the areas of collective bargaining, education code compliance, and discrimination and employment litigation. Virjee's practice included representing employers in employment litigation, providing preventative advice through client counseling, policy and procedure review and drafting, and extensive in-house training and education on important labor and employment issues. Virjee also served in several leadership positions at O'Melveny, including Secretary to the Management Committee, Chair of the Employment Committee, and the Partner-in-Charge of both Lateral Hiring and Diversity.

Virjee graduated summa cum laude, earning a bachelor's degree in political science and sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He earned his J.D. cum laude from the University of California Hastings College of the Law.

Fram is married to Julie Virjee, and they have three sons and one grandson. Julie is very active on campus as a volunteer dedicated to student success. Fram and Julie are founders of Yambi Rwanda, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping the people of Rwanda through empowerment and collaboration in areas of education, financial sustainability and creating vibrant life experiences.

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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.

Framroze Virjee Appointed President of California State University, Fullerton
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3/22/2019 1:25 PMParch, Lorie3/18/20193/18/2019 1:55 PMWhile about one-third of U.S. colleges and universities have a woman at the helm, more than half of the CSU's campuses are led by women. Meet the remarkable leaders making history—and inspiring others with their actions.Story

​​​​In July 2018, for the first time in the system's 59-year history, the majority of presidents of the California State University were female. Of the 23 campuses of the CSU, 12 are now led​ by women. 

We sat down with all our female presidents—from Dr. Karen S. Haynes, appointed president of CSU San Marcos in 2003, to Dr. Lynnette Zelezny, appointed to CSU Bakersfield in 2018—to hear their thoughts on leadership, their path to the presidency and what inspires them. Click to watch the video below.

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To learn more about all 12 female presidents of the CSU, read and watch the presidents' full profiles at the "Women & Leadership" site.

Meet the 12 Women Presidents of the CSU
CSU-Campuses-Rank-Among-Nations-Best-for-Awarding-Physics-Degrees-to-Diverse-Students.aspx
  
3/15/2019 9:49 AMRuble, Alisia3/15/20193/15/2019 9:00 AMSTEMStory
​Several CSU campuses are recognized as being among the nation’s highest awarders of physics degrees by the American Physical Society (APS), especially to women and underrepresented minorities.

The APS, a nonprofit membership organization working to advance the knowledge of physics, recently released rankings that analyzed all U.S. higher education institutions that grant physics degrees, ranking them by number of degrees granted. The rankings separate schools by highest degree in physics awarded: bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and doctoral degrees. 

Among master’s and bachelor’s degree granting institutions, 12 CSU campuses achieved top 20 rankings in various categories, including in granting the most undergraduate degrees in physics overall and most undergraduate physics degrees awarded to women and underrepresented minorities. 

Most notably, among physics bachelor’s degree granting institutions awarding the most undergraduate degrees to underrepresented minorities, four CSU campuses rank in the nation’s top 20. The campuses included, listed in ranking order, are: Pomona, San Bernardino, San Marcos and Dominguez Hills. 

Among physics master’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of undergraduate physics degrees to underrepresented minorities, six CSU campuses rank in the nation’s top 20. The campuses included, listed in ranking order, are: Long Beach, San Francisco, Fullerton, San Diego, and San José. 

Initiatives and Partnerships Increase Participation of Minorities in STEM

The APS rankings reflect the CSU’s commitment to diversifying STEM fields by supporting underrepresented groups pursuing their education in STEM. These efforts are also integral to closing achievement gaps between underrepresented minorities and their peers, a key goal of the CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025

Galen Pickett, Ph.D., a physics professor at California State University, Long Beach—which is ranked number one in granting undergraduate physics degrees to women among master’s degree granting institutions—says the recognition from APS is linked to years of dedication by the CSU to encourage underserved students to pursue careers in STEM fields. 

“The CSU is making good on its promise to extend opportunities in STEM education to underserved students, who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields,” Dr. Pickett says. “At CSU Long Beach, we make a great effort to show students from these groups potential STEM career paths they may not even be aware are open to them and holistically support their aspirations.” 
 
Thirteen CSU campuses are part of the APS’s Physics Teacher Education Program (PhysTEC), which aims to improve the education of future physics teachers, help address the teacher shortage and increase the diversity of the physics teacher workforce. The CSU campuses partnering with PhysTEC are Chico, East Bay, Fresno, Fullerton, Long Beach, Pomona, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San José, San Bernardino, San Luis Obispo and San Marcos. 

The program creates a physics teacher pipeline, funneling diverse, quality physics teacher candidates into high-need schools with the long-term goal of encouraging more high school students to pursue careers in physics. 

CSU campuses are also part of a state-wide initiative, along with the University of California (UC) and California Community Colleges (CCC), to increase the number of women and minorities in physics through the Cal-Bridge program. 

Cal-Bridge identifies CSU students from underrepresented groups who display strong academic potential and provides them with the necessary support to successfully matriculate to a Ph.D. program. The program began at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona four years ago, and has since expanded to include 16 CSU campuses, nine UCs and more than 40 CCCs. 

To learn more about how the CSU is working to extend opportunities in STEM to underrepresented groups, visit our page for STEM Engaged Learning. ​

Rankings from the American Physical Society (APS)

CSU campuses among the physics bachelor’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of undergraduate physics degrees overall:
San Luis Obispo (2)
Pomona (4)

CSU campuses among the physics bachelor’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of undergraduate physics degrees to underrepresented minorities:
Pomona (2)
San Bernardino (3)
San Marcos (6)
Dominguez Hills (11)

CSU campuses among the physics master’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of undergraduate physics degrees overall:
Long Beach (1)
San Francisco State (7)
Fullerton (14)
San Diego (15)
San José (16)

CSU campuses among the physics master’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of undergraduate physics degrees to underrepresented minorities:
Long Beach (2)
Fullerton (6)
Northridge 8)
San Diego (11)
San Francisco (13)
San José (16)

CSU campuses among the physics master’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of master’s degrees in physics overall:
Long Beach (2)
San Francisco (11)
San José (16)
Northridge (17)
Fullerton (19)

CSU campuses among the physics master’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of master’s degrees in physics to underrepresented minorities:
Long Beach (1)

CSU campuses among the physics master’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of undergraduate physics degrees to women:
Long Beach (1)
San Francisco (7)
San José (16)
Fullerton (17)

CSU campuses among the physics master’s degree granting institutions awarding the highest number of master’s degrees in physics to women:
Los Angeles (5)
Long Beach (7)
San Diego (14)

CSU campuses among all institutions granting the highest number of undergraduate physics degrees to Hispanics:
Long Beach (3)
San Bernardino (10)​
CSU Campuses Rank Among Nation’s Best for Awarding Physics Degrees to Diverse Students
Four-CSU-Leaders-Honored-as-Woman-of-the-Year-by-California-Legislators.aspx
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3/5/2019 10:01 AMRawls, Aaron3/5/20193/5/2019 8:45 AMOne trustee and three presidents were honored at the California Capitol for their remarkable contributions to society.LeadershipStory

​Four California State University leaders were honored as their respective district's Woman of the Year by various members of the California Legislature for their remarkable contributions to society.

Trustee Emily F. Hinton, President Erika D. Beck (California State University Channel Islands), President Dianne F. Harrison (California State University, Northridge) and President Mary Papazian (San José State University) were honored during a formal ceremony held in Sacramento on the floors of the State Senate and Assembly.

The Woman of the Year event was founded in 1987 in celebration of Women's History Month. Every March, senators and assembly members invite women to the Capitol who are making a difference in their communities throughout the state.

The event, sponsored by the California Legislative Women's Caucus, has become a meaningful tradition and an anticipated rite of spring in the California State Legislature. The Assembly and Senate pause from their usual business to bestow accolades to encourage women of all ages to pursue a life that benefits others.

Hinton, one of the CSU's two student Trustees, was recognized by Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, President Beck was recognized by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, President Harrison was recognized by Senator Robert Hertzberg and President Papazian was recognized by Assembly Member Evan Low.

The most diverse four-year university in the country, the CSU is also a leader in expanding the diversity of campus leadership. Since Chancellor Timothy P. White began his tenure in 2012, he has appointed 17 presidents, of whom 10 are women. Currently, 12 of the 23 campuses are led by women–52 percent of CSU presidents–which approximates the demographics of CSU's student population. Across the nation, roughly 30 percent of U.S. colleges and universities are led by a woman.

“With the majority of our 23 campuses now led by women presidents, the California State University is an exemplar for our state and nation," said White recently while discussing the CSU's landmark achievement. “We take immense pride in serving the country's most diverse group of students, and I am equally as proud that our leadership reflects the diversity of our students."​

Four CSU Leaders Honored as Woman of the Year by California Legislators
CSU-Outreach-Connects-Students-with-CalFresh.aspx
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3/1/2019 12:40 AMRuble, Alisia2/28/20192/28/2019 8:00 AM​The CSU hosted the first systemwide CalFresh Day Feb. 27 to raise awareness for the food assistance program and encourage eligible students to sign up for benefits.Basic Needs InitiativeStory
​​The California State University hosted the first systemwide CalFresh Day Feb. 27 to raise awareness for the food assistance program and encourage eligible students to sign up for benefits.

CalFresh​​, federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a nutrition assistance program funded by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) that can help students meet their nutritional needs.

Campus outreach advocates hosted events to educate students on criteria they must meet to qualify and answer common questions. Advocates also connected students with other resources, like campus pantries and meal-sharing programs, and advised students on where they can use CalFresh benefits. 

CSU campuses reached out to students in a variety of ways, including in-person and on social media, offering delicious incentives to learn more about the program.

In addition to helping students sign up for benefits, Cal State LA’s mobile kitchen—operated by the campus Food Pantry—served up cooking demonstrations, showing students how to make easy and healthy meals using foods commonly distributed at the pantry. 

Chico State’s outreach efforts were aimed at meeting eligible students where they are rather than inviting students to come to their program office. Outreach advocates hosted an “After Dark” event during the evening in the university library to sign students up for benefits and provide healthy study snacks.

“We’re so proud of the participation of our campuses during the inaugural CSU CalFresh Outreach Day—the first event of its kind in the nation,” says CSU Director of Student Wellness and Basic Needs Initiative Denise Bevly. “CalFresh is a key pillar of the Basic Needs Initiative and the Chancellor’s Office is committed to continuing our partnership to support these efforts.”

Supporting Students’ Basic Needs

The CSU’s Basic Needs Initiative grew out of Graduation Initiative 2025, which aims to improve completion rates and eliminate equity gaps. Basic needs programs are available at each campus to provide resources for students facing food and housing insecurity, helping students reach their educational goals.

All 23 CSU campuses now offer students CalFresh application assistance and more than 360 designated CalFresh outreach advocates systemwide work to educate students on eligibility and help them sign up for benefits. Outreach advocates have helped approximately 3,400 eligible students sign up for CalFresh since August 2018.

The CSU is also working to enable CalFresh recipients to use their benefits to purchase food on campus. Currently six campuses accept Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT)—the method of payment used by SNAP recipients—with additional campuses in development. The campuses that currently accept EBT are: Humboldt, Long Beach, Pomona, San Francisco, San José, and Northridge.

Each CSU campus now has a food pantry or food distribution program, which connects students with healthy food to supplement their diets. Campus pantries have been serving students since the Basic Needs Initiative launch in 2016 and more than 35,000 students were served by pantries during the fall and winter 2018 semesters.

To learn more about CalFresh benefits and find a campus outreach advocate, visit the CSU’s CalFresh page
CSU Outreach Connects Students with CalFresh
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4/9/2019 8:39 AMParch, Lorie2/20/20192/20/2019 11:35 AMCSU Fullerton and CSU San Bernardino have each partnered with Riverside City College to offset the ongoing nursing shortage.NursingStory

​​​​​As the demand for more registered nurses continues to grow, CSU campuses are partnering with a local community college to offset the shortage.

California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) and California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB) have each signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Riverside City College (RCC) to create pathways to a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing (BSN).

The agreement established a dual-enrollment program between RCC and CSUF or CSUSB, allowing community college students who are working to earn their associate degree in nursing (ADN) to concurrently earn a BSN from one of the two CSU campuses.

“Inland Southern California is experiencing a surge in its economy and population as the region veers into a public health crisis. We need to ensure we have the healthcare infrastructure in place to meet the looming needs," said Sen. Richard D. Roth (D-Riverside). “This innovative pilot program addresses that need by driving more bachelor's degree nurses into medically underserved regions like Inland Southern California, delivering health care where it is needed most."

Every year, CSU campuses prepare 60 percent of the state's baccalaureate prepared nurses, including conferring more than 3,200 nursing degrees in 2017-18. But despite robust programs on 18 CSU campuses, California has the highest deficit of registered nurses in the nation. The new pathway is established to counteract the shortage by removing unnecessary time and costs for ADN nursing students to complete their degree and become workforce-ready.

Students will begin the program at RCC as they take prerequisite and general education classes. They then enroll concurrently into both RCC and one of the CSU nursing programs to complete the ADN. Their final semester will be completed at CSUF or CSUSB, resulting in a BSN.

Concurrent enrollment to the ADN-to-BSN program will launch in fall 2019. The program could serve as a model for other CSU campuses to adapt, enabling more students to earn a BSN in a direct and streamlined manner.

“The CSUF and CSUSB nursing faculty are confident that the success of this model will promote the state-wide adoption of the ADN-to-BSN collaborative program," says Margaret Brady, Ph.D., professor of nursing at CSU Long Beach and coordinator of the ADN-to-BSN program. “Investment in this program will sow the seeds for more students to become RNs and mitigate the nurse deficiency throughout California."

The ADN-to-BSN program advances the CSU's efforts in meeting Graduation Initiative 2025 goals of graduating more students in a timely manner. Collaboration between RCC and each of the CSUs removes barriers associated with transferring while providing students high-quality education to prepare for their future in nursing.

The MOUs also established procedures for program governance, admission procedures, operation of student financial aid, as well as sharing of classroom and other resources, such as simulation labs and libraries. 

CSU Campuses Partner with Local Community College to Streamline Nursing Pathway
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2/22/2019 8:58 AMParch, Lorie2/19/20192/19/2019 8:10 AMEspecially for first-generation students just starting college, peer mentoring can make all the difference. Student SuccessStory

​If you're a student at a CSU campus, your mentor could be as close as the person sitting next to you in class. Especially if you're a first-generation student in your first year of college, having someone to help you navigate the new world of academics (and more), can make a big difference. Support like this can even set you up for the ultimate success: earning your degree. 

Peer mentoring isn't new, but more California State University campuses are ramping up these programs as a way to meet students where they're at and give them individualized guidance. In fact, 17 CSU campuses expanded their peer mentoring programs during the 2017-18 academic year, according to the Graduation Initiative 2025 progress report presented to the California legislature. Nearly 262,000 of the CSU's current students will be the first in their families to earn a degree, so the positive impacts of peer mentoring are far reaching. 

Learn more about the ways our students are finding support from their peers across the campuses of the CSU.

Humboldt State: Mentors First

What It Is: Since 2014, Humboldt State University's Retention through Academic Mentoring Program (RAMP) has provided one-to-one peer mentoring for each of the campus's first-time, first-generation freshmen (more than 50 percent of HSU's freshmen fall into that category), says RAMP director Tracy Smith.

Every fall, about 800 incoming students are each assigned to a peer student mentor who helps them develop good study habits, teaches them about campus culture and university policies, and lets them know about other student support resources.

"You are making an impact in someone's life, sometimes greater than you know," says Kristina Wolf, a RAMP lead student mentor and a mentee in 2016-17. "Students are just reaching an incredibly important place in their life, beginning college, where everything is new and sometimes a little scary."

peer mentoring at Humboldt State

"RAMP is here to help students through this transition point in their life and hopefully support them in building the tools to succeed in their future college career and beyond," says Kristina Wolf, RAMP student mentor (left), pictured here with student Maria Angelic Garcia. Courtesy of Kellie Jo Brown/Humboldt State

How It Works: Each student mentor—there are about 30 to 36 in total—meets with their mentees every three to four weeks; in between, the pair communicate by text, email or phone.

"During these meetings the peer mentors foster the importance of being proactive," explains Smith, adding that mentors share resources related to addressing the stresses first-year students typically feel, such as homesickness, imposter syndrome or financial worries, to name a few. 

"Students who can anticipate the expectations of campus educators have a huge advantage in navigating the first year."

Samantha Martinez, RAMP coordinator and an HSU alumna pursuing her master's of education, says that while the program actively supports the university's efforts for retaining freshmen, the core of their work is in providing support and development of the student mentors

"RAMP is really about building a proactive, strong support system for our mentors and that trickles down to our freshmen," agrees Smith. "We are helping to develop future professionals who are becoming change agents for our campus and community."  

Smith adds that RAMP would not be successful without their campus partners (learning communities, academic advising, TRiO programs and many more), which help freshmen build connections and relationships across campus.

To Learn More: Humboldt State's RAMP

CSU Bakersfield: Science of Success

What It Is: Peer mentoring is a key part of the STEM Pathways program at CSU Bakersfield's School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering (NSME),  which places first-time freshmen who declare select STEM degrees in a learning community that supports them during their first year of college.​

NSME Pathways mentor Chris Ramirez is also a first-generation student. He hopes to pursue a residency in neurosurgery after medical school. Courtesy of Chris Ramirez

​​"Research shows that peer mentors are invaluable for success for underrepresented or first-generation students," says Jaimi Paschal, Advising Center and Pathways coordinator at CSUB. 

For that reason, the program strives to have a diverse pool of peer mentors. "When students see people who are like them," adds Paschal, "they tend to have better retention."

How It Works: Postbaccalaureate student Chris Ramirez is one such peer mentor. Now majoring in biology and planning to enter medical school, Ramirez is in his second year of mentoring; for the 2018-19 academic year, he's working with eight CSUB biology students.

​​Ramirez meets with his mentees as a group every week and communicates with each via text message. One-on-one meetings with mentees are scheduled as needed, he says. "I came into the program last year not knowing what to expect, and over the past three semesters I've really seen the growth in students. It's really rewarding when they do well in classes."

Other peer-to-peer mentoring programs welcome students pursuing any undergraduate degree, but the Pathways community is made up only of first-time freshmen STEM majors in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, computer science, geology, human biology, math, pre-nursing and physics.

"They really want your guidance," says Ramirez, who has answered questions about choosing a minor, getting into medical school and even getting a credit card. "I see myself in a lot of these students. I wish there was someone there for me back when I was a freshman."

To Learn More: CSU Bakersfield's NSME Pathways Program

CSU Northridge: Tailor-made Mentoring for LGBTQIA Students

What It Is: California State University, Northridge created peer-to-peer mentoring opportunities for the LGBTQIA student community starting in spring 2012, not long before CSUN's Pride Center opened its doors. "We provide that listening ear and support," explains Sarina Loeb, manager of the CSUN Pride Center and an alumna of Sonoma State and CSUN. "Over the years, it's been very helpful for students to confide in that peer to learn about what it was like transitioning to campus."

How It Works: Every student assistant on the Pride Center staff is trained in mentoring skills. When a student asks about the program, Loeb first meets with the student to pair them with a mentor who's likely to be a good fit.

"We really listen to what our students need and we adapt our program to meet their needs," Loeb says, adding that her goal is a personalized mentor-mentee relationship. "Some may want to meet three times a semester and they're good. Others may want to meet more frequently."

Loeb says students often talk one-on-one with their mentors about sexuality and gender identity or to learn ways to get connected or involved at CSUN. Sometimes, students inquire about mentoring but don't follow through with the program either because they're not ready or comfortable making that step yet. "We continue to modify and add to our programming to ensure we are meeting the needs of our students," she says."

To Learn More: CSU Northridge's Pride Center

Sacramento State: Teaching Wellness

What It Is: At Sacramento State's Peer Health Educator Internship program, student interns earn course credit for teaching peers about wellness, including nutrition, alcohol and drugs, mental health and healthy relationships.

Sacramento State peer health manager Gabrielle Espinosa (top right) with her Peer Health Educator (PHE) intern group. After graduation, Espinosa hopes to attend a public health scholar program and eventually earn a master’s of public health to pursue her dream job as a public health consultant for the CDC. Courtesy of Gabrielle Espinosa

While the Peer Health Educators (PHE) advocate wellness to their student community, peer mentors support them—in the form of student managers who already completed the PHE program, ensuring a legacy of peer-led health and wellness promotion on campus.

How It Works: Eight to 10 PHE student managers maintain an ongoing mentoring relationship with about 40 to 50 PHE interns each year and help run the program.

"This experience really gave me a place to learn and grow as a person and a professional … It has opened so many doors for me," says PHE student manager Gabrielle Espinosa, who began as a PHE intern in her sophomore year and graduates with her bachelor's in family studies in May 2019.

Espinosa, along with peer health manager Nathan Mao, co-manages nine PHE interns who work with the wider student community to reduce harmful use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. 

"Our job is to build a platform for the interns to create their own [health education] outreach work with students using their own ideas," Espinosa says, explaining how her past mentors helped her bring her own ideas to light and excel at something she was passionate about.

To Learn More: Sacramento State's Health & Wellness Promotion




3 Good Reasons to Pay It Forward

If you want to become a peer mentor, you could reap big rewards for helping out your fellow students:

1. Your grades might improve. Jaimi Paschal of CSU Bakersfield says that one STEM Pathways mentor's GPA went up just from being a mentor. Because she urged her mentees to study so much, she had to walk the walk herself and improved her own study habits, says Paschal.

2. You'll become a better listener—and thinker. CSUN's Pride Center mentors have found that sharing knowledge has developed their listening skills. "I see the growth in their critical thinking skills," adds Sarina Loeb, noting that many of her student assistants go on to pursue a master's degrees in social work. "Mentoring is a great transferrable skill for them."

3. You'll be more employable. Another benefit for student mentors: the clout that comes with being part of a well-regarded organization. When Tracy Smith's student mentors leave Humboldt State's RAMP program, they're able to get a job nearly anywhere on campus, thanks to the training they've received and their new leadership skills. 

Sacramento State student Gabrielle Espinosa says that being a mentor in the peer health educator program helped hone her networking skills; she landed a public affairs internship at Planned Parenthood this semester simply by submitting her resume through a Sac State staff member. "They took me without even an interview," says Espinosa.


Student Mentors: Peer-to-Peer Power
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2/13/2019 11:37 AMSalvador, Christianne2/13/20192/13/2019 2:25 PMTo help close the equity gap in physics and astronomy, the CSU has joined a state-wide network with the University of California and the California Community Colleges for a program called Cal-Bridge.DiversityStory

Women and members of certain minority groups–namely African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans–continue to be underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). While underrepresented minorities (URM) constitute 30 percent of the U.S. population, they only hold 8.9 percent of all STEM doctorate degrees. Their presence is even lower in departments such as physics and astronomy, where URMs hold less than 4 percent of Ph.D.'s nationwide.

URMs face a number of barriers that keep them from earning advanced degrees in these subjects, including lack of academic preparation and financial support.

To help close the equity gap in physics and astronomy, the CSU has joined a state-wide network with the University of California (UC) and the California Community Colleges (CCC) for a program called Cal-Bridge.

"The Cal-Bridge program is designed to provide the mentoring and financial resources they need to help them achieve their dreams of becoming physicists and astronomers," says Alexander Rudolph, a Cal Poly Pomona professor of physics and astronomy, and director of the Cal-Bridge program.

Comprised of 16 CSUs, nine UCs and more than 40 CCCs, Cal-Bridge's mission is to increase diversity in physics and astronomy doctoral programs. The program identifies CSU students from underrepresented groups who display strong academic potential and provides them with the necessary support to successfully matriculate to a Ph.D. program, targeted at the UC campuses in the Cal-Bridge network. Scholars are supported for three years, beginning their junior year and lasting through their first year of grad school. CCC students must transfer to a participating CSU to join the program.

Cal-Bridge is built on four key elements that help students overcome barriers to a Ph.D.:

  • Financial Support: Once selected, Cal-Bridge scholars benefit from full financial aid of up to $10,000 per year, covering the cost of tuition and room and board, which enables students to work less and focus on their studies.
  • Intensive joint mentorship: Every Cal-Bridge scholar is assigned two mentors–one from a CSU campus and another from a UC campus. Scholars receive dual mentorship on a biweekly basis to help navigate their way to a doctoral program.

    "Growing up, my interest in science and math went largely unsupported by my family and I was unsure of what careers I could have with a degree in STEM," said Katy Rodriguez Wimberly, physics graduate student at UC Irvine and former Cal-Bridge Scholar.

    "The mentorship I received from CSU and UC faculty was so eye-opening and inspiring! My mentors worked very closely with me, providing writing tips and direct science guidance on my research proposal."
  • Professional development: Scholars receive extensive professional development and in-person workshops that allow them to interact and grow with one another in the program.

    "I gained the tools and insights on how to transition from undergrad to a research-focused graduate," says Wimberly. "The relationships I built and the events I participated in demystified academia for me and, as a result, I feel confident in my growing skills as an astronomy researcher."
  • Summer research: Scholars who participate in the summer research program work on authentic research projects at one of the many world-class research institutions in the network. They have opportunities to present the results at regional and national scientific conferences.

Since Cal-Bridge's launch four years ago, 18 of the 20 scholars from the first three cohorts have been accepted to a Ph.D. program directly from a CSU and two are in master's-to-Ph.D. bridge programs. Five students received the prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship award, while three received honorable mentions. The fourth cohort will be applying to Ph.D. programs later this year.

A recent $5 million grant by the NSF allows Cal-Bridge to expand its number of scholars from about a dozen per year in Southern California to as many as 50 statewide. The program welcomed 25 scholars for its fifth cohort last fall.

For more information on Cal-Bridge, visit https://www.cpp.edu/~sci/physics-astronomy/research/cal-bridge.shtml.

CSU Aims to Increase Number of Women and Minorities in Astronomy and Physics
we-met-at-the-csu.aspx
  
2/19/2019 2:53 PMSua, Ricky2/13/20192/13/2019 12:00 PMThese lucky couples got more than a great education: They found true love at a California State University campus.AlumniStory

​Everyone who attends a CSU campus has the opportunity to attain a high-quality education. But some lucky students have walked away from their college experience with an added bonus: love. However it happened—in class, at a party, volunteering at a student organization or just walking around campus—their connection was real.

For Valentine’s Day, we sat down with four couples who met and fell in love at the CSU to hear their stories. In the words of journalist Franklin P. Jones, "Love doesn't make the world go round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.”


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'We Met at the CSU': 4 Alumni Love Stories
CSU-Leaders-Bring-Message-of-Hope-to-Local-Communities.aspx
  
2/27/2019 12:32 PMRuble, Alisia2/12/20192/12/2019 11:30 AMCSU leaders visited nearly 100 churches across the state Sunday to encourage students to pursue higher education during the 14th annual CSU Super Sunday.DiversityStory
California State University leaders, including Chancellor Timothy P. White, campus presidents, administrators and alumni, visited nearly 100 churches across the state Sunday to encourage students to pursue higher education during the 14th Annual CSU Super Sunday.

CSU leaders delivered an empowering message to congregants that reinforced the transformational nature of a college degree. Following each service, CSU campus volunteers provided prospective students and their families information about preparing for college including academic requirements and how to apply for financial aid.

At Antioch Church in Long Beach, CSU Chancellor Timothy White espoused the life-long benefits of a college degree and aspects of higher education unique to the CSU including affordability and campus support.

“Whatever your circumstances, age, or income, you can not only attend college—you can succeed in college,” Chancellor White told congregants. “CSU faculty, staff, students and alumni are ready to help you complete your degree every step of the way.”

Chancellor White also extended an invitation to students and their families to attend a work shop at California State University, Long Beach in March to learn about preparing for college entry exams and about the Early Assessment Program.

In his address to the congregants of Life Church of God in Christ in Riverside, CSU Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Loren Blanchard reminded churchgoers that the CSU remains committed to the well-being of its surrounding communities.

“The CSU does not end at the boundaries of our campus,” Dr. Blanchard said. “We are partners in the future success of your children and grandchildren, and this means we look forward to having an ongoing relationship with you.”

Since the CSU’s first Super Sunday in 2005, more than one million people have attended Super Sunday services. Super Sunday is one of many events supported by the CSU community to increase the preparation, retention and graduation of African-American students.

Outreach efforts and partnerships within underserved communities are key to the CSU’s work to improve completion rates and eliminate equity gaps through the Graduation Initiative 2025. Through the initiative, the CSU has established important strategies to improve success among students from underserved communities who continue to graduate at lower rates than their peers.

Recent data show the Graduation Initiative 2025 has been successful in narrowing the equity gap by 14 percent for underrepresented students of color and by 10 percent for students receiving Pell Grants. 

To learn more about how the CSU works with community partners to foster a college-going culture and eliminate equity gaps, visit our African American Initiative page.
CSU Leaders Bring Message of Hope to Local Communities
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Ellen-J-Neufeldt-Appointed-President-of-Cal-State-San-Marcos.aspx
  
3/20/20193/20/2019 8:05 AMThe CSU Board of Trustees has appointed Ellen J. Neufeldt, Ed.D., to serve as president of California State University San Marcos.
Ellen J. Neufeldt Appointed President of California State University San MarcosLeadershipPress Release
Framroze-Virjee-Appointed-President-of-Cal-State-Fullerton.aspx
  
3/20/20193/20/2019 8:00 AMThe CSU Board of Trustees has appointed Framroze “Fram" Virjee to serve as president of California State University, Fullerton.
Framroze Virjee Appointed President of California State University, FullertonLeadershipPress Release
CSU-Chancellor-White-to-Receive-Leadership-Champion-Award-from-Leadership-California.aspx
  
1/30/20191/30/2019 10:35 AMChancellor Timothy P. White will be presented the 2019 Leadership Champion Award by Leadership California, whose mission is to increase the representation and influence of diverse women leaders across the state.
CSU Chancellor White to Receive Leadership Champion Award from Leadership CaliforniaLeadershipPress Release
San-Francisco-State-University-Presidential-Search-Committee-to-Hold-First-Meeting.aspx
  
1/23/20191/23/2019 1:00 PMThe CSU Board of Trustees is beginning the search for a new president of San Francisco State University to succeed Dr. Leslie E. Wong, who is retiring in July 2019.
San Francisco State University Presidential Search Committee to Hold First MeetingLeadershipPress Release
HSU-Presidential-Search-Committee-to-Hold-First-Meeting.aspx
  
1/23/20191/23/2019 1:00 PMThe CSU Board of Trustees is beginning the search for a new president of Humboldt State University to succeed Dr. Lisa Rossbacher, who is retiring in June 2019.
Humboldt State University Presidential Search Committee to Hold First MeetingLeadershipPress Release
CSU-Faculty-Staff-Honored-for-Outstanding-Contributions-to-Student-Success-.aspx
  
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
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4/17/20194/17/2019 9:00 AMBuilding mini satellites. Designing next-level rockets. Witnessing a Mars landing. It's all in a day's work for these talented CSU students.TechnologyStory
The Sky's Not the Limit
CSU-Awards-Inaugural-Grants-to-Support-Student-Well-Being-.aspx
  
4/4/20194/4/2019 9:35 AMThe CSU Chancellor’s Office has awarded inaugural mini-grants to CSU faculty, staff and students in support of basic needs and student well-being. Basic Needs InitiativeStory
Students with fresh fruits and vegetables
CSU Awards Grants to Support Student Well-Being
CSU-Summer-Arts-Polishes-Students-Talents-for-Future-Careers-in-Art.aspx
  
3/27/20193/27/2019 9:20 AMCalling all artists, dancers, writers and actors! CSU Summer Arts is back and is currently accepting applications for summer 2019. EducationStory
Students performing on stage
CSU Summer Arts Polishes Students' Talents for Future Careers in Art
To-the-Ends-of-the-Earth.aspx
  
3/26/20193/26/2019 9:00 AMAntarctica is among the best places in the world to see the effects of climate change in action. Meet four women of the CSU whose work is taking them here on an urgent quest to find solutions.ResearchStory
Antarctica
CSU Women in Antarctica: To the Ends of the Earth
women-and-leadership-the-12-female-presidents-of-the-csu.aspx
  
3/18/20193/18/2019 1:55 PMWhile about one-third of U.S. colleges and universities have a woman at the helm, more than half of the CSU's campuses are led by women. Meet the remarkable leaders making history—and inspiring others with their actions.Story
Meet the 12 Women Presidents of the CSU
CSU-Campuses-Rank-Among-Nations-Best-for-Awarding-Physics-Degrees-to-Diverse-Students.aspx
  
3/15/20193/15/2019 9:00 AMSTEMStory
CSU Campuses Rank Among Nation’s Best for Awarding Physics Degrees to Diverse Students
Four-CSU-Leaders-Honored-as-Woman-of-the-Year-by-California-Legislators.aspx
Checked Out To: Barrie, MatthewFour-CSU-Leaders-Honored-as-Woman-of-the-Year-by-California-Legislators.aspx
Checked Out To: Barrie, Matthew
  
3/5/20193/5/2019 8:45 AMOne trustee and three presidents were honored at the California Capitol for their remarkable contributions to society.LeadershipStory
Four CSU Leaders Honored as Woman of the Year by California Legislators
CSU-Outreach-Connects-Students-with-CalFresh.aspx
Checked Out To: Parch, LorieCSU-Outreach-Connects-Students-with-CalFresh.aspx
Checked Out To: Parch, Lorie
  
2/28/20192/28/2019 8:00 AM​The CSU hosted the first systemwide CalFresh Day Feb. 27 to raise awareness for the food assistance program and encourage eligible students to sign up for benefits.Basic Needs InitiativeStory
CSU Outreach Connects Students with CalFresh
CSUs-Partner-with-Local-Community-College-to-Create-Nursing-Pathway.aspx
  
2/20/20192/20/2019 11:35 AMCSU Fullerton and CSU San Bernardino have each partnered with Riverside City College to offset the ongoing nursing shortage.NursingStory
CSU Campuses Partner with Local Community College to Streamline Nursing Pathway
Peer-Mentoring-Power.aspx
  
2/19/20192/19/2019 8:10 AMEspecially for first-generation students just starting college, peer mentoring can make all the difference. Student SuccessStory
Student Mentors: Peer-to-Peer Power
CSU-Aims-to-Increase-Number-of-Women-and-Minorities-in-Astronomy-and-Physics.aspx
  
2/13/20192/13/2019 2:25 PMTo help close the equity gap in physics and astronomy, the CSU has joined a state-wide network with the University of California and the California Community Colleges for a program called Cal-Bridge.DiversityStory
CSU Aims to Increase Number of Women and Minorities in Astronomy and Physics
we-met-at-the-csu.aspx
  
2/13/20192/13/2019 12:00 PMThese lucky couples got more than a great education: They found true love at a California State University campus.AlumniStory
'We Met at the CSU': 4 Alumni Love Stories
CSU-Leaders-Bring-Message-of-Hope-to-Local-Communities.aspx
  
2/12/20192/12/2019 11:30 AMCSU leaders visited nearly 100 churches across the state Sunday to encourage students to pursue higher education during the 14th annual CSU Super Sunday.DiversityStory
CSU Leaders Bring Message of Hope to Local Communities
CSU-Says-Goodbye-to-Single-Use-Plastics.aspx
  
2/7/20192/7/2019 9:05 AMBy 2023, the CSU system will be eliminating the use and sale of all single-use plastics including plastic straws, water bottles and bags.SustainabilityStory
CSU Says Goodbye to Single-Use Plastics
CSU-Campuses-Receive-17M-to-Train-Special-Education-Teachers.aspx
  
2/5/20192/5/2019 11:30 AMSeven CSU campuses received funding for campus projects that will prepare educators, school counselors and psychologists to work with students with special needs.Teacher PreparationStory
CSU Campuses Receive $17M to Train Special Education Teachers
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