Science and CSU

Student Researchers Bring Big Ideas

Elizabeth Chapin



​CSU students are addressing today’s top issues including the impact of minimum wage increases, California’s water crisis, and the public perception of police officers. They are also developing solutions that can make a difference in our lives including creating power from carbon dioxide and making breakthroughs that could lead to more effective treatments for cancer.

These topics were among nearly 200 research projects presented at the CSU’s 29th annual Student Research Competition at CSU San Bernardino May 1-2. The event hosted the best and brightest students from throughout the CSU–in order to participate, students had to be selected by their campus or take top honors in their own campus research competition.

Over the two-day event, 260 students from 22 CSUs presented 200 research projects in 19 sessions, which were broken down by student level and a number of research categories including humanities and social sciences, agriculture, chemistry, biology and health sciences.

Students presented before panels of professional experts from major corporations, foundations, public agencies, and colleges and universities in California. One winner and runner-up were selected in each session.

Humboldt State student João Paulo Curti took top honors in the Humanities and Letters, Creative Arts & Design/Interdisciplinary category for creating an interacti​ve map of the Arcata Community Forest that has the potential to change how people interact with the great outdoors.

The forestry major took video footage from a camera mounted on his bicycle helmet to create the interactive map, which gives people the information they need to assess the difficulty of hiking and biking trails. Curti says his next step is to create a smart phone application for the map.

San Francisco State student Trevor Meyers, another Humanities and Letters category winner, developed a way to improve the administration of eye medication. The product design graduate student created prototypes of eye drop bottles that can help people with poor eyesight identify the correct medication and dosage. His new design could potentially decrease the amount of unintentional eye injuries due to improper use or misidentification of medicine.

“With these ideas, discoveries and technologies, we’re going to be able to have patents, licenses and money coming into California and the CSU system,” said CSU San Bernardino Associate Provost for Research and Dean of Graduate Studies Jeffrey Thompson. “These students have the talent that’s going to lead California into the future.”

The first place winners are listed below. A full list of all participants can be seen here.

Biological and Agricultural Sciences
Bryan Hancock, San Diego State
Title: A Novel Group B Streptococcus Infection Model in Zebrafish

Katherine Watters, San José State (Graduate)
Title: A Novel Mechanism that Directs Neural Circuit Formation

Kyle Hess, CSU Fullerton (Undergraduate)
Title: Decoding the Human Cellular Stress Response, One Mutation at a Time

Haley du Bois, Humboldt State (Undergraduate)
Title: Dissecting the Role of MAPK Signaling in the Tumor Promoting Properties of Lethal Giant Larvae 1 (Lgl1) in Primary Neural Progenitor/Stem Cells

Business, Economics, and Public Administration
Terra Thorne, Sacramento State 
Title: Immigrants and Health Insurance Enrollment: Identifying Factors that Influence Coverage

Aaron Iffland, San Diego State (Graduate)
Title: Comparing Levels of Homophily and Intergenerational Closure Between Two-Year and Four-Year Students: A Propensity Score Matching Analysis Utilizing the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002

Nyree Hall, Sacramento State (Undergraduate)
Title: Still A Minority: Exploring Black Student Enrollment Decline in the California State University System

Health, Nutrition, and Clinical Sciences
Kevin Campbell, Kristina Bishard, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Title: Use of Sphingomyelin Treatment to Evaluate DNA Damage Biomarker p21 Expression in UV Exposed Human Keratinocytes

Anneke Bulthuis, CSU San Marcos (Undergraduate)
Title: Breaking Brucellosis: Burden Estimates for the Nakapiripirit District of Karamoja, Uganda, 2013-2014

Humanities and Letters, Creative Arts and Design, and Interdisciplinary
Joao Paulo de Sordi Curti, Humboldt State
Title: Interactive Trails Map

Engineering and Computer Science
Shiva Moballegh, San José State (Graduate)
Title: Efficient Message Propagation in Dense Smart-Vehicular Networks

Frank Madrid, CSU Bakersfield (Undergraduate)
Title: A Bayesian Intra-Video Collusion Attack on Frame-by-Frame Video Watermarking

Physical and Mathematical Sciences
Shaker Von Price Funkhouser, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (Undergraduate)
Title: Proof of an Energy Extremum Principle for Charged Black Holes

Nathan Graham, Humboldt State (Undergraduate)
Title: Determining Magma Mixing Duration and Dynamics Through Analysis of Reaction Rims on Olivine Crystals in Natural Samples of Black Dacite From the 1915 Eruption of Lassen Peak, CA

Skylar Chuang, CSU Long Beach (Graduate)
Title: The Role of Nanogold-apoE3 Reconstituted Vehicles (NERVs) as Potential Drug Delivery Systems

Humanities & Letters; Creative Arts & Design
Trevor Myers, San Francisco State (Combined)
Title: Improving the Eye Drop Experience

Behavioral & Social Sciences
Jessica Pope Mayers, CSU Los Angeles (Graduate)
Title: A Controlled Field Study of Showups: Examining the Effect of Suggestion and Suspect Similarity

Jason Alipio, CSU San Bernardino (Combined)
Title: Fluoxetine (Prozac) Exposure during Adolescence Disrupts Spatial Memory Performance in Adulthood

Mikaela Vournas, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (Undergraduate)
Title: Mapping Motivations: Nutrition in Transition in Fiji