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Student-Run-PR-Agencies-Real-World-Practice-for-a-Digital-Future.aspx
  
5/16/2019 9:53 AMParch, Lorie5/15/20195/15/2019 9:55 AMAdvances in technology continue to evolve the work of public relations. Student-run agencies are preparing students to meet the business realities of the future by simultaneously building their digital and interpersonal skills.CareersStory

​​​​​Advances in technology continue to evolve the work of public relations (PR). While traditional PR skills, such as writing and public speaking, will always be valuable, today's PR practitioners must also flourish in the digital landscape. Tech-savviness, in addition to interpersonal skills, has become essential to effectively reach the modern audience.

To meet the increased expectations of PR professionals, CSU undergraduate students are gaining strong career preparation by working in student-run PR agencies. Currently available at 10 CSU campuses, the agencies are student-managed businesses that provide advertising, public relations and event planning services to real-world companies. The agencies are designed to benefit the clients while providing a robust hands-on learning experience for students.

Producing Real Results for Real-World Clients

When the Bob Hope USO in Orange County needed help with introducing their new military services center to the community, they called on California State University, Fullerton's agency, PRactical ADvantage, to increase their brand awareness.

To inform the public about the services that the USO offers, students hosted a mixer at the Bob Hope USO center at the John Wayne Airport, inviting members of the community and local Orange County businesses. As part of the process, students developed a marketing campaign to promote the event using the USO's social channels.

They also created a video that was posted on Facebook asking for donations during the holiday season. Between the video and the advertisement campaign, more than 77,000 people were reached and the organization's social media channels have generated more than 290,000 impressions.

“It was great to have a team of hardworking young students dedicate a semester to Bob Hope USO and seeing their perspectives on PR for the organization," says Allison Anderson, director of special projects and events at Bob Hope USO. “They familiarized us with social media advertising and helped us get our calls to action to reach more people. Soon after, we connected with an individual donor and a veteran who wants to help recruit volunteers."

Student-run PR agencies operate within an academic program, typically in the Communications or Business departments. Students can work at the agency for a semester or two to earn college credits, allowing them to gain valuable work experience without compromising their time to degree.

Chico State alumnus, Benjamin Liwanag, says the work he did at the campus' Tehama Group Communications (TGC) agency closely aligns with his job duties today, helping him land a job at Highwire PR in New York City.

“During my interview at Highwire, I talked about a successful social strategy that I had developed for a client, which helped me stand out from other applicants," says Liwanag. “They found my experience to be valuable with digital communication becoming a bigger part of today's PR practices."​

Strengthening Interpersonal Skills in the Age of Digital Communications

The future of PR is likely to be in digital communication media, according to Doug Swanson, professor of Communications at CSUF and author of the book “Real World Career Preparation: A Guide to Creating a University Student-Run Communications Agency." But despite the growing emphasis for digital communication, Swanson says interpersonal skills will be as important as ever.

“There are students who are hesitant to pick up the phone and pitch an idea; They're afraid of one-on-one presentations. As digital skills continue to grow, we must not forget about the interpersonal skills that are so important to business and personal success. Business is not done through text messages," says Swanson.

Agencies prepare students to meet the business realities of the future by balancing their use of hard and soft skills. Meeting clients' needs often involve blending hard skills, such as social media analytics, with well-developed soft skills, such as face-to-face communication and strong work ethic.

“While writing is an important skill in PR, so is building trust and relationships with clients," says Tawnya Bear, associate vice president at Finn Partners marketing agency and Chico State alumna. “When I worked at TGC, I learned how to work with different personalities. You don't get to choose your team, so you quickly realize what makes a person tick or how to best work with someone."

Swanson says many companies will continue to value soft skills in their employees more than they value the hard skills. “An employer told me just last week, 'I can train students to perform any task. But I cannot train them to have a sense of urgency, self-awareness, or values that align with my organization.'"​​ ​


To learn more about each of the CSU's student-run PR agencies, visit the following campus sites:



Student-Run PR Agencies: Real-World Practice for a Digital Future
golden-state-bees.aspx
  
5/14/2019 8:08 AMKelly, Hazel5/13/20195/13/2019 9:00 AMHoneybees and other pollinators are critical to California’s fruit industry and the world’s food supply. Learn how campuses across the CSU are preparing the next generation of agricultural experts to protect these essential insects.CaliforniaStory
 
Beekeeper holding a honeyboard covered in bees

Golden State bees

Honeybees and other pollinators are critical to California’s fruit industry and the world’s food supply. Learn how campuses across the CSU are preparing the next generation of agricultural experts to protect these essential insects.

Skip to content  

​It's February, but the weather at Fresno State's Campus Orchard is mild. Fresh, cool air wafts through the almond trees as thousands of honeybees busily greet the trees' snow-white blossoms. The setting would make for a relaxing stroll through the fragrant orchard were it not for the fact that serious work is taking place here: Without the pollination from these bees, the blossoms would not set fruit and no nuts would grow. 

“There's been a push to help the public understand the vital role insect pollinators play in our production of food. We need safe places for beekeepers to keep bees and also promote native bees by planting native wildflowers." 

–Dr. Ruben Alarcón, associate professor of biology, CSU Channel Islands

Almonds are one of the fruit trees that rely primarily on insect pollinators—in this case, the domesticated honeybee. In fact, much of the state’s fruit and nut industry depends on the insects, which are trucked in annually from as far away as Florida for almond pollination season.

With more than one million acres of almond trees in California, that’s a lot of bees coming through the state. For its part, Fresno State has 100 acres of the trees on its thousand-acre campus farm, giving agriculture students hands-on experience with a crop that’s worth more than $5 billion​ to the state.

Click on the stories below to learn more about how CSU campuses are preparing studentsand even the publicto raise and care for honeybees in ways that ensure a healthy future for Californi​a agriculture.

Central Valley Gold

Discover how Fresno State is teaching agriculture students to be honeybee stewards.

learn About Fresno State's bee program

Show me the Honey

Learn how Cal Poly Pomona is educating students and the community to keep bees for honey and the greater good.

discover Cal Poly Pomona's apiary program

​By the Numbers


It takes nectar from
2 million
flowers to make 1 pound of honey

35​%
of the world’s food crops ​and one-quarter of the world’s flowering plants depend on animal pollinators* to reproduce

Honeybees pollinate approximately
$10 billion
worth of crops in the U.S. each year

*Animal pollinators include bees, butterflies, moths, birds, bats, beetles and other insects. Source: USDA

Golden State Bees: Essential Insects for Agriculture
May-Revision-Continues-Proposed-Increases-in-Funding-for-California-State-University.aspx
  
5/9/2019 1:26 PMSalvador, Christianne5/9/20195/9/2019 1:00 PM"With additional funding as outlined in the governor's proposal, the CSU can maintain the positive trajectory of student achievement through Graduation Initiative 2025 and provide even more opportunities for students," says Chancellor White.BudgetPress Release

​​​The following statement can be attributed to California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White:

“Governor Newsom continues to demonstrate his dedication to creating opportunity for Californians by increasing the level of investment in public higher education in his revised budget plan. We appreciate his commitment and his vision for creating a California for all.

With additional funding as outlined in the governor's proposal, the CSU can maintain the positive trajectory of student achievement through Graduation Initiative 2025 and provide even more opportunities for students. After earning high-quality degrees from a CSU campus, Californians become our state's next generation of civic and business leaders.

As the budget cycle moves into the final stages, we will continue to work with our partners to reinforce to the legislature the value of the CSU, in order to ensure that sufficient funding remains in the final budget so that we may properly serve California."

Graduation Initiative 2025 is the California State University's ambitious and successful initiative to enhance student success that includes increasing graduation rates for all CSU students while eliminating opportunity and achievement gaps. Through this initiative the CSU will ensure that all students have the opportunity to graduate in a timely manner according to their personal goals, positively impacting their future and producing the graduates needed to power California and the nation.

Governor Newsom's May Budget revision maintains a proposed ongoing increase of $300 million for the CSU to fund ongoing expenses as well as one-time allocations of $247 million to assist the university in addressing a growing backlog of maintenance for aging facilities across the 23 campuses, and $15 million to help support the basic needs of students.

Additionally, the May Revision proposes ongoing funding for rapid rehousing of housing insecure students and Project Rebound, a special admissions program on most CSU campuses that assists formerly incarcerated individuals who might not normally qualify for university acceptance because of application deadlines and minor academic deficiencies. 

# # #

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.​

May Revision Continues Proposed Increases in Funding for California State University
Mental-Health-Month-2019.aspx
  
5/9/2019 3:04 PMParch, Lorie5/9/20195/9/2019 9:00 AMCollege isn’t easy. And for many students, classes and studying are just one part of their lives. Work, family and other obligations also claim time and energy. Here’s how some CSU campuses are helping them better manage stress, anxiety and other issues.WellnessStory

May is Mental Health Month, a good time for all of us to reflect on how we're coping with what life is throwing our way. College students in particular can struggle to find balance between the sometimes crushing demands of academics, work and family; too often, self-care is the first thing to be sacrificed.

The good news, though, is that more students are looking for help when they need it, says Armando Zaragoza, a graduating psychology major at California State University San Marcos. “I'm seeing more students, faculty and staff talking about mental health," says Zaragoza, who has spent five years working to raise awareness of mental health issues and improve access to both campus and community resources. He is also the campus's president of Active Minds, a national nonprofit that advocates for the mental health of young people.

Adds Zaragoza: “Greek organizations see the need for more education on mental health, there are more partnerships with community resources, and staff and faculty are recognizing when a student is in distress—I'm seeing this conversation starting in all aspects of campus."

“There's been a significant increase in students seeking mental health resources," agrees Karen Nicholson, M.D., director, Student Health and Counseling Services at CSU San Marcos. “We've had to expand our services and resources and we're trying to come together as a team to offer support." 

Putting a Stop to Stigma

That said, for some students there remains a stigma about seeking help for paralyzing anxiety, depression, an eating disorder, the stress of housing and/or food insecurity, sexual violence or other trauma, or a substance abuse problem. “For our underrepresented students, they may come from a culture where seeking services is discouraged or told that these services are not appropriate," notes Dr. Nicholson. “Some students may not have support from home to seek support. Some may also fear that information regarding a visit to a therapist would get back to their family, for example."

At California State University, Fresno, a three-year-old program with a straightforward two-word title—“Let's Talk"—has proved to be a success in breaking down some of these barriers, as well as a helpful complement to traditional counseling.

“Students meet a licensed counselor outside the health center, in a faculty office," explains Malia Sherman, Psy.D., Director of Counseling and Psychological Services at Fresno State. “It's more anonymous and students don't need to complete any forms or schedule a visit." Let's Talk is offered at Fresno State from Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. throughout the academic year, as well as at CSU Monterey Bay, CSUN, Sacramento State, San Diego State, San Francisco State and San Jose State.

At the March 2019 CSU Board of Trustees meeting, Chairman Adam Day spotlighted Asha Bhattacharya, a CSU Fullerton student who proposed a “mental fitness center" on campus that would offer peer mentoring, meditation, and art therapy.

“The idea is to encourage students to think about their mental health more proactively, just like we do about physical fitness and nutrition," explained Chairman​ Day. “Feedback and input from students like Asha are so important and critical to creating a support system that best meets their needs."

All 23 CSU campuses have a mental health and counseling services center, which is sometimes integrated into the campus's health center and sometimes separate. 

The Toughest Time of the Year

Unsurprisingly, visits by students spike at certain times, particularly the period between midterms and finals and graduation, says Dr. Sherman.

If you're a student who's having difficulty managing stress, depression, anxiety or another issue, don't hesitate to take advantage of what your campus has to offer, she adds. In addition to traditional one-on-one counseling and groups that offer support, “all CSU campuses are moving toward offering more holistic care," Sherman says. These include workshops on time management, good nutrition, healthy cooking, the benefits of exercise, meditation and mindfulness, and more.

That's the message Zaragoza wants to emphasize over all others, too: “You're not alone," he stresses. “Everyone deals with a mental health challenge and it's okay to seek help. Other students have benefitted from resources. Your campus community is there to support you."

Many CSU campuses also add more resources to support students during those periods of peak stress. Sacramento State, CSU Long Beach and CSU Dominguez Hills, among other campuses, have offered very cute and furry de-stressors (better known as dogs) during finals week, and CSU Northridge has its calming Oasis Wellness Center, with yoga, aromatherapy and guided meditation.

“There are a lot of great online resources, too," says Sherman. “There are more non-traditional ways to access counseling than ever before."

 

9 Problems Your Campus Mental Health Center Can Help With 

  • Anxiety
  • Academic stress
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia

  • Substance abuse (including alcohol and prescription drugs)

  • Sexual trauma and other kinds of trauma/PTSD 

  • Housing insecurity, food insecurity or other financial problems

  • Relationship issues, including a break-up

If you are in crisis or considering suicide, immediately call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), call 911, or go to your nearest ER.



Mental Health Month 2019: 'You're Not Alone'
Mental Health Month: ‘You’re Not Alone’
CSU-Student-Research-Competition-Highlights-Novel-Approaches-to-Sustainability-Challenges.aspx
  
5/9/2019 10:21 AMRuble, Alisia5/7/20195/7/2019 4:30 PMCSU students showcased projects aimed at providing solutions for real-world sustainability challenges at the 33rd annual Student Research Competition.ResearchStory
​​​The California State University held the 33rd annual CSU Student Research Competition on April 26 and 27 at California State University, Fullerton, where undergraduate and graduate students from each of the CSU’s 23 campuses gathered to showcase innovative research and creative activities.

Among the cutting-edge research presented during the two-day event were projects aimed at providing solutions for real-world sustainability problems, including renewable energy and water management.

Turning Waste into Energy

A group of students at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona took home first prize in the category of undergraduate engineering and computer science for their work to find a way to repurpose reverse osmosis concentrate to store energy. Reverse osmosis is used in various industries to separate dissolved solids from water for desalinating and purifying water.

“The Department of Energy is looking for a way to reduce the cost of solar energy so that people will move away from using fossil fuels,” says Reza Baghaei Lakeh, Ph.D, an assistant professor in the College of Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona and faculty advisor for the prize-winning team. “In order for that to happen, though, we need to develop a device to store energy. Without one, solar energy is still too expensive for customers.”

The project, funded by the Bureau of Reclamation of the U.S. Department of the Interior, aims to create a device that uses the salt content, or brine, in reverse osmosis concentrate as a medium to store energy like a battery. In addition to reducing the cost of solar energy, the completed device will provide a more environmentally-friendly mode of disposal.

“Current forms of disposal are costly and damaging to the environment, especially the use of pipelines to bring it to the ocean, which changes salinity levels and is potentially harmful to sea life,” says Dr. Lakeh. “Using brine to store energy can help reduce our impact on the environment.” 

Dr. Lakeh has divided the project into three segments, each of which is completed by a new group of senior undergraduate students each school year. The group of undergraduate students from the competition—the second of three cohorts—are graduating this spring and will train the next cohort of researchers to take over the project in fall 2019. 

Providing Fresh Water to Rural Communities

Spencer McLintock, a master’s student in Humboldt State University’s Environmental Engineering Resources Program, presented his research on the development of a small-scale water treatment method using ultraviolet lights that is affordable and easy to use. 
The project, conducted under the guidance of assistant professor of environmental engineering Margarita Otero-Diaz, Ph.D., aims to help supply fresh water to people, especially to people in rural areas, who are not on a community water grid and rely on surface water for drinking.

 “Increasingly longer droughts are forcing us to divert more water out of rivers and streams, and the water coming back in is very nutrient-rich,” says McLintock. “This is the perfect storm for harmful algal blooms, which produce cyanotoxins that make people and animals who drink the water sick.” 

Other methods of treating surface water for cyanotoxins—like using activated carbon or adding chlorine—are expensive and require specialized training. McLintock’s device will be affordable and require little to no training to use. 

McLintock is currently working as an intern with CalTrans and after defending his thesis in fall 2019, plans to pursue a career in water management, helping communities make equitable water distribution plans for changing landscapes. 

Boosting Student Success

Research, scholarship and creative activities are essential components of a CSU education. Through these activities, the CSU advances student success, enhances faculty excellence and addresses challenges facing California and beyond.

Participation in research also contributes to higher retention rates—especially among undergraduate students and students from underserved communities—a key goal of the CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025, which is making progress toward improving completion rates and eliminating equity gaps.

Visit Calstate.edu Research to learn more about how CSU faculty and students at each campus are impacting local communities and preparing for the jobs of the future. 

For a full list of 2019 CSU Student Research Competition winners, visit http://www.fullerton.edu/src2019/winner.php




CSU Student Research Competition Highlights Novel Approaches to Sustainability Challenges
Classof2019CommencementDates.aspx
  
5/3/2019 9:35 AMRawls, Aaron5/3/20195/3/2019 9:00 AMGraduation season is here! Find dates and more information for ceremonies being held at every CSU campus.CommencementStory

​​​It’s not only students and their families who love commencement. Talk to faculty or a staff member at any of the California State University's 23 campuses this time of year and you’ll witness the pride and joy they feel for their students (along with some sadness to see them leave, of course).

Here’s the lineup for this year's commencement ceremonies for every campus, kicking off this weekend with Cal Maritime's graduation events ​on Saturday, May 4. 

Congratulations, Class of 2019! 


May 22 & May 24
May 18
May 16-19
May 17-18
May 17-19
May 18
May 17-19
May 18
May 21-24

May 20-24

May 4

May 17-18

CSUN
May 17-20

May 17-19

May 17-19

June 13 (Palm Desert campus), June 15 (San Bernardino campus)

May 16-19


May 22-24

June 15-16

May 17-19

May 18-19

May 23-24


Current as of Friday, May 3, 2019



Commencement Dates for Class of 2019
Commencement Dates for the CSU's Class of 2019
Affordability-and-Academic-Quality-Land-CSU-Campuses-on-Forbes-Best-Value-List.aspx
  
5/6/2019 2:39 PMRuble, Alisia5/1/20195/1/2019 4:00 PMSeventeen California State University campuses are included in Forbes magazine's annual ranking of the nation’s top schools with the highest quality and best financial outcomes. AffordabilityStory
​​​Seventeen California State University campuses are included in Forbes magazine's annual ranking of the nation’s top schools with the highest quality and best financial outcomes. 

The CSU campuses included in Forbes' Best Value Colleges 2019 rankings released April 24 are listed in order of ranking: San Diego, Long Beach, San José, Fullerton, Pomona, San Luis Obispo, Chico, Fresno, Northridge, Sacramento, East Bay, Stanislaus, San Francisco, Maritime Academy, Los Angeles, Sonoma and San Bernardino. 

Using data from the U.S. Department of Education's College Scorecard and PayScale, Forbes evaluated 300 U.S. colleges and universities based on net price, alumni earnings, academic quality, graduation rates and the number of Pell Grant recipients. 

Forbes revised its methodology in 2018 to focus more on a school’s societal contribution, putting greater emphasis on affordability and economic benefits, which contribute to better rates of upward mobility.

“Most students and their families are interested in value over prestige,” Forbes writer Caroline Howard says. “This is the definitive guide for those looking for an excellent return on one of the most important investments of their lives.”

The CSU as an Engine of Upward Mobility

The CSU is the nation’s largest and most affordable public four-year university system, opening the door to educational opportunities for nearly half a million students and awarding more than 125,000 degrees each year.

Through a robust financial aid program, the California State University is able to provide access to a high-quality education while maintaining affordability. In fact, 81 percent of CSU students receive some form of financial aid and more than half of students who earn bachelor’s degrees graduate with zero education loan debt.

In January 2019, CSU Chancellor Timothy White indicated that tuition— among the lowest in the nation—would remain the same for the 2019-20 academic year in response to Governor Newsom’s generous support in the January budget proposal.  

Already lauded for the quality of its educational offerings, the CSU continues university-wide efforts to improve student success and foster upward mobility through Graduation Initiative 2025. Since its launch in 2016, equity gaps between underrepresented students and their peers have begun to narrow and completion rates are at all-time highs for all students. 

This progress ensures that thousands of additional students graduate in a timely manner—more than half of which are the first in their families to earn a degree—positively impacting their future and producing the graduates needed to power California and the nation.

Learn more about how the CSU is working to ensure all students have access to the economic and social benefits of higher education by visiting our Graduation Initiative 2025 page. 

CSU campuses consistently rank highly for academic excellence, value, sustainability and opportunity. Visit the CSU’s rankings page to find recent recognitions.
Affordability and Academic Quality Land CSU Campuses on Forbes Best Value List
Lifelong-Learning.aspx
Checked Out To: Sua, RickyLifelong-Learning.aspx
Checked Out To: Sua, Ricky
  
5/2/2019 7:49 AMMcCarthy, Michelle5/1/20195/1/2019 12:00 AMMeet six soon-to-be CSU graduates, each of whom forged a unique path to commencement in their 50s and beyond.​​​AlumniStory
Lifelong Learning

A Degree at Last

Meet six soon-to-be CSU graduates, each of whom forged a unique path to commencement in their 50s and beyond.​​​


 

When the Class of 2019 graduates this spring, hundreds of CSU students might stick out a bit in the vast crowd of revelers across our 23 campuses. They're the ones likely to be flashing bigger smiles than anyone else.

That's because sometimes life's achievements are sweeter when you have to wait for them: And for these graduates—all of whom will be over the age of 50 when they cross the stage to receive their diploma—the waiting, and the hard work of earning their degree, is over.

Even though the conventional image of a college student remains a young adult, the truth is that the face (and age) of the student body is changing as more people are starting or finishing their degree later in life. In fact, more than 4,500 students age 50 and older enrolled at the CSU for the fall 2018 semester.


Photo of Ingrid  

Ingrid El Idrissi, 56
Chico State | B.S., Nursing

“I actually enjoyed going back. I learned I'm stronger than I think I am and I can accomplish this dream."

“I had family obligations. I'm the main breadwinner and work as an RN. I finally just started kind of plugging away at all the preliminary courses I had to have, but I had setbacks. I had to be out of work for a year due to surgeries. When I went back, my father ended up being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, so I took time off to work with my dad. Then he passed.

"I live in Humboldt but chose Chico State because it's my father's alma mater. It's just a great way to be able to honor my dad and get a degree.

"The need to learn how to use your computer to submit assignments and get your assignments was quite a shock. The whole electronic thing was a nightmare for me to begin with. Once I got used to that, I was like, OK, I can do this."


 

Jesse Carmona, 59
CSU Long Beach | B.A., Theatre Arts

“I was determined to make an impression that I'm no different than any student here and I'm going to do my best."

“Growing up in the barrio of East Los Angeles in the '60s and '70s, higher education opportunities were seldom. Educators in my high school were vague about my chances after graduating.

"As a low-income Mexican American, I was not encouraged to pursue college but to find work to support my family. Everyone was a laborer in my family. I worked on the train tracks, loading carts.

"Now, at CSU Long Beach, I have a grade point average of 4.0. It was kind of frightening at first, because very few people my age come back to college and are in a room with a bunch of 20-year-olds. I'd make a joke to break the ice in class and say, 'What's my father doing here?' Now I'm part of the gang."

 

 

Marc Schillinger, 68
CSU Channel Islands | Teaching Credential

“I'd been out of high school for 50 years. You're never too old for school. You should keep learning your whole life."

“I worked for 41 years in the environmental industry. At my 30th high school reunion in 1998, they asked us to put down what we thought we'd be doing in 10 years and I wrote down 'teacher.' But I just wasn't able to quit my job because of financial responsibilities. In 2017, I retired and started coursework at Channel Islands.

"School was a lot different than what I remembered. I wasn't used to working in groups, but I liked the interaction with the students. They really treated me like a fellow student. Sometimes the teacher might ask a question and I'd have a different view of it because I was there in the '60s. (I'd often clarify, not the 1860s).  

"Technology was the biggest struggle for me because, back in the day, we used slide rulers in the engineering department. And abstract algebra​I'd never heard of it before. 

"It's something I've wanted to do for such a long time and I'm really thankful I've had the opportunity to do this. I encourage people to go for it."


Rod 1 Rod 2

Slide the divider from left to right to see Rod and Melissa in 2003 and in 2019

Rod St. Amant, 55
CSU Fullerton | B.A., Geography

“My daughter Melissa is the amazing one. I'm just an old guy taking one class at a time."

“Nobody in my family had ever gone to college. I ended up going to work as a mechanic. Around 35, I got my associate's degree and transferred to Cal State Fullerton. Seeing my dad pass had me thinking about my kids a lot. I was putting a lot of time in with school. So I put college on the back burner to be a dad and raise a family.

"Fast forward to my daughter Melissa being in college. She transferred to Fullerton and said, 'Hey Dad, you should go back to school with me.' I kind of just laughed at it, but the next thing I know, she's got me signed up.

"Our first semester, we carpooled. She'd pick me up, we would drive to campus together and have dinner. It was just neat being on campus with her at the same time. We'd talk about classes and study together for midterms. We teased each other and said, 'OK, whoever gets the better grade in the midterm, the other one has to buy dinner that night.' I'll be graduating on May 18 and she'll be graduating on May 19. She's super proud of me."

Rod 1 Rod 2

Slide the divider from left to right to see Rod and Melissa at Newport Beach in 2003 and in 2019.


Photo of Tina Howell 

Tina Howell, 54
CSU San Marcos | Multiple-subject Teaching Credential

“I didn't feel like I belonged in college. But I met some wonderful professors along the way who took me aside and, at my lowest points, kept reminding me the fight wasn't inside the classroom, it wasn't outside the classroom. The biggest fight was within myself."

“As a child, I went to 18 different schools, so it wasn't easy. I dropped out of high school when I was 16 and didn't think college was for me. I had two kids and kept telling them they had to go to college. They turned the tables around and said, 'Well, you didn't go to college, Mom, so why should we?' So to show my kids the right path, I began, with the help of my husband, the process of going to school.

"My first day of school, I thought I was totally in the wrong place. When I looked around, the people in the classroom were 20 to 30 years younger than me. Even the professor was younger than me. It was very awkward. I remember thinking, If I make it through this class, I'm gonna get in my car and go home because I don't belong here.

"I'm graduating magna cum laude in May. I've learned not to give up and that even when the road is difficult, you can forge a path through the difficulties and keep moving forward."


 

Joshua Gordon, 54
CSUN | B.A., Psychology

“I was able to receive a much richer experience as a direct result of my age."

“I had undiagnosed ADHD, depression and anxiety when I was younger and found the school environment difficult. I went on to be a professional musician for 10 years. I took classes here and there at community college and decided to just jump in and pursue it full-time.

"In 2016, I was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer and had to take the spring semester off to undergo chemo and radiation. I re-enrolled in the fall of 2017; I'm in remission right now.

"Ninety-five percent of the time, I was the oldest person in my classroom by a great margin. Sometimes I felt like I was the weird old guy. Like I was the cautionary tale: 'Study hard now, kids. You don't want to be here in 30 years, do you?'

"I'm glad I didn't go to college when I was younger because I couldn't have appreciated it like I do at this age. Every day I parked my car and walked out into the open campus, I'd take it all in and really be in the moment and feel like I'm getting to participate in something special. The greatest thing I learned is if I could move from being someone who's 'not a math person' to someone who likes math, then my identity of myself isn't necessarily true. And that means anything is possible."

 

Never Stop Learning

To ease the transition back to college, the CSU provides options ranging from adult reentry programs to online and hybrid courses to Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE)​. According to Sheila Thomas, Ed.D., assistant vice chancellor and dean of PaCe, lifelong learning is now more important than ever. “Those who are creative, good problem-solvers and good team players will always be in demand, regardless of how drastically the workforce landscape changes,"  notes Dr. Thomas. "And the CSU is helping to prepare its students, no matter what age, to become just that."

Visit the CSU's​ PaCE site to find information about degrees, certificate programs, Open University and online courses.


​​
A Degree at Last
Funding-for-Research-Helps-Advance-CSU-Student-Success.aspx
  
4/30/2019 11:20 AMRuble, Alisia4/26/20194/26/2019 12:00 AMFunding for research continues to grow at the CSU, advancing student success, enhancing faculty excellence and addressing challenged facing California and beyond.ResearchStory
Research in the CSU Hero Image

Funding for Research Helps Advance CSU Student ​Success

Research, scholarship and creative activities are essential components of a Californ​ia State University education. Through these activities, the CSU advances student success, enhances faculty excellence and addresses challenges facing California and beyond.


 


​​At a time when external research funding for higher education is decreasing nationally, funding for the CSU has increased steadily over the past several years. In 2017-18, the CSU received nearly $648 million in external funding for faculty-led research, which is an increase from the previous year's $590 million in funding.

Unlike state funds that are used exclusively for basic university operations, faculty compete for these external funds, which are used for innovative projects that benefit local communities and prepare students for the careers of the future.

Faculty Mentor Next Generation of Scientists

Manny Flores Research Presentation

Emmanuel Flores presenting his undergraduate research project at the Emerging Researchers National Conference, which helps prepare students for science careers in a global workforce.

Faculty research benefits students, particularly as faculty weave their research into curricula and include students in the process.

Emmanuel Flores, a master's student studying biology at California State University, Fresno, says it was the guidance of his faculty mentor Tricia Van Laar, Ph.D. that first piqued his interest in research as an undergraduate student.

“I was drawn to Dr. Van Laar's lab because she was doing some pretty innovative work in biology," says Flores. “I hadn't even thought about doing research before that, but I became fascinated by the work and have developed a passion for it because of her mentorship."

While working in the Van Laar Lab as an undergraduate student, Flores conducted his own research project for the Fresno Chaffee Zoo and was encouraged by Dr. Van Laar to participate in several opportunities to present his research, including at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Washington D.C. 

“The conference was for student researchers from underserved communities—students from Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) like Fresno State," says Flores. “It was really eye-opening to participate in workshops and career networking events with fellow emerging scientists."

As the CSU works toward achieving Graduation Initiative 2025 goals of reducing time to degree, increasing graduation rates and closing equity gaps, undergraduate involvement in research plays a key role in reaching these goals.

This high-impact practice fosters skills needed to be prepared for future careers and provides significant faculty-student interactions, building relationships and resulting in better retention rates.

Learn more about how student involvement in research at the CSU benefits both students and communities by visiting the CSU's page for research, scholarship and creative activity.


CSU Faculty ​Addressing Califor​nia's Most Challenging Issues

Cutting-edge faculty-led research can be found on all 23 CSU campuses and focuses on addressing the needs of local ​communities, California and beyond. Here are just a few examples:

 

Understanding Fire

San José State University's Craig Clements, Ph.D., and his team with the campus' Fire Weather Research Lab are transforming wildfire research​, using meteorological techniques to study fire behavior in an effort to help battle future blazes.

Learn More
 

Defending Coastlines

California State University, Long Beach's Christine Whitcraft, Ph.D., is researching how human activities and climate change impact wetlands through the Wetlands Ecology Lab in an effort to combat rising sea levels.

Learn More
 

Building Better Roads​

Chico State's DingXin Chen, Ph.D., is working to find ways to preserve roadways and develop sustainable alternatives to traditional roadway materials through the California Pavement Preservation Center.

Learn More
​​
Funding for Research Helps Advance CSU Student Success
CSU-STEM-VISTA-Helps-Improve-Graduation-Rates-Through-Community-Engagement-.aspx
  
4/26/2019 8:27 AMSalvador, Christianne4/23/20194/23/2019 10:00 AMSTEM students at the CSU are reaping the benefits of service learning, thanks to the stellar members of the CSU STEM VISTA program.STEMStory

STEM students at the CSU are reaping the benefits of service learning, thanks to the stellar members of the CSU STEM VISTA program.

Service learning, as a high impact practice, increases students' chances of staying in school and graduating in a timely manner. To get more underrepresented STEM students involved in service learning, the CSU STEM VISTA programs at several campuses are partnering with their campus service-learning centers to offer opportunities that combine STEM and community engagement.

As part of AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), CSU STEM VISTA is comprised of professionals tasked with applying their skills and knowledge to meet the needs of STEM students. VISTA members are often recent college graduates or are working to advance their careers in STEM or education, and are participating in a one-year, full-time national service opportunity to eliminate race, class and gender disparities in STEM fields.

CSU STEM VISTA supports the Graduation Initiative 2025 goal of closing equity gaps by creating programs aimed at enhancing learning experiences for students of color, students from low-income communities and first generation students.

CSU STEM VISTA was established in 2014 and its 67 alumni and current members have since enriched the education of 15,000 STEM students through workshops, internships and research opportunities at 17 campuses.

“CSU STEM VISTA members are dedicated to providing innovative equity-based solutions to empower and inspire CSU STEM students," says Kristina Barger, VISTA Program Manager. “By supporting service-learning centers, and other on-campus departments, VISTA members create programs that nurture individual students' talents and strengths while tapping into their passions."

VISTA's collaboration with campus service-learning centers are helping students excel by allowing them to apply their STEM knowledge and interests while serving their local communities.

One example is Stanislaus State's Science in Our Community program, in which Stan State students present hands-on STEM education to local K-12 students. In 2018, its STEM Ambassadors program, developed by CSU STEM VISTAs, received the university's Student Leadership Greatest Achievement award for leading activities such as Science Saturday (a day of learning for K-12 students and their families) and Science Camp (multiple days of studying science in the wild).

At San José State, VISTA members developed curriculum on cybersecurity that STEM students are deploying at a local elementary school. Called the Cyber Spartans Program, SJSU students are hosting after-school workshops in topics such as cryptography, hacking and malware. The program is intended to mentor third to sixth graders, and every SJSU student-mentor has received training from the VISTA member prior to entering the after-school classroom.

In the last five years, students at the CSU have provided nearly 33,000 hours of hands-on STEM activities and have reached more than 20,000 K-12 students. Students who participated in CSU STEM VISTA activities have a higher rate of student success: according to a recent three-year impact report of the VISTA program, the retention equity gap between underrepresented minority students (URM) who participated in the program's activities and non-URM students was eliminated.

CSU STEM VISTA members continue to diligently ensure that all students have the opportunity to graduate on time while positively impacting their lives, families and communities. For more information on CSU STEM VISTA, visit https://www2.calstate.edu/impact-of-the-csu/community/stem-vista/Pages/default.aspx.

CSU STEM VISTA Helps Improve Graduation Rates Through Community Engagement
eco-entrepreneurs.aspx
  
4/23/2019 8:20 AMRawls, Aaron4/22/20194/22/2019 12:00 AMMeet the remarkable entrepreneurs whose innovative products are helping to meet California’s most urgent environmental challenges.SustainabilityStory

For These ​CSU Alumni,
Every Day Is Earth Day

Meet the remarkable entrepreneurs whose innovative products are helping to meet California’s most urgent environmental challenges.

 

With each passing year, Chico State alumnus Matt Petersen saw the pollution in California's Central Valley get worse. His hometown of Modesto routinely appeared on lists of U.S. cities with the worst air quality.

So h​e decided to do something. Now president and CEO of Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI), Petersen assists clean technology startups in creating a green economy that doesn’t leave behind underrepresented communities.

“In California, there is an urgency around the undeniable science of climate change and how to accelerate the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” says Petersen, who served as the first-ever chief sustainability officer for Los Angeles under Mayor Eric Garcetti. “For me, it's about, how do we show we can grow the economy while protecting the environment?”

The Golden State stands on the front lines of climate leadership in the U.S., giving California State University students unparalleled preparation for thriving careers in green economy jobs. Indeed, the spirit of sustainability permeates their lives on campus. Meet six more exceptional CSU alumni working on solutions to California’s most pressing environmental challenges.


Pathwater

Alumnus: Amer Orabi, chief operating officer 
Campus: CSU East Bay (Business Administration, 2015)
Environmental Issue: Ocean pollution 
Company: Pathwater, purified water in a refillable aluminum bottle

 

“Every day, we are reducing the number of plastic bottles going into California’s oceans by offering a true alternative to single-use plastic.”

— Amer Orabi, COO, Pathwater

Amer Orabi, CSUEB alumnus and co-founder and COO of Pathwater, isn’t one to think small. He knew the seemingly overwhelming problem of plastics polluting the planet’s oceans was the issue he wanted to tackle.

“We encourage our consumers to refill, not landfill,” he explains. “For every refill we inspire, we’re taking a plastic bottle out of the ocean.”

After researching the properties of aluminum, Orabi knew he’d found the perfect material. One of the most abundant metals on earth, aluminum takes five times less energy to recycle than plastic, and 70 percent of aluminum products are already recycled in the U.S., compared to a dismal 30 percent for plastic bottles.

The company’s mission goes beyond adopting a more eco-friendly hydration habit; they want to educate consumers about the global plastic pollution epidemic and make sustainability something everyone can do, every day. “I grew up in the Middle East, where people don't recycle,” Orabi says. “I've always envisioned myself being part of the solution. I’m truly inspired by the CSU’s initiatives to eliminate single-use plastics by 2023. I believe a sustainable business can be a platform for real impact.”

Play Video

It's estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Every plastic bottle that isn't recycled takes 700 years to decompose.

ZON POWERSOL

Alumna: Sarah Akin, founder and chief compliance officer
Campus: CSU Long Beach (Fine Arts, 2001)
Environmental Issue: Greenhouse gas emissions
Company: ZON Powersol, a solar-powered umbrella and USB charging station

 

“Anytime you can use solar instead of traditionally generated electricity, it’s a benefit to the environment.”

— Sarah Akin, founder and CCO, ZON Powersol

When it comes to solar technology, California ranks number one. In 2017, it topped the list for number of solar-power companies; number of residences powered by solar; percentage of electricity produced; and total investment in the sector. Starting in 2020, all new homes built in the state will be required to include solar rooftop panels, the first mandate of its kind in the U.S.

California State University, Long Beach alumna and entrepreneur Sarah Akin is part of the solar wave. “I realized there was a need for outdoor charging of mobile devices while I was sitting outside working on my iPad,” she says. “I wondered why there wasn’t a solution for people who wanted to enjoy the outdoors instead of having to be tethered to a wall inside.”

In 2012, Akin created the ZON Powersol, an umbrella that uses solar panels and a lithium battery to charge USB devices such as smartphones and tablets as quickly as an outlet.

“Our core conviction [as a company] is to keep mobile devices charged while reducing our carbon footprint,” says Akin, ZON's chief compliance officer.

The Powersol is now being used at a number of CSU campuses, including Bakersfield​, Channel Islands, Dominguez Hills, East Bay​, Long Beach, Northridge, Pomona​, San Bernardino and San Luis Obispo“The Powersol serves a dual purpose of providing much-needed shade and a charging station for students’ devices,” says Melissa Soto, campus planner at CSULB. “An additional benefit is it makes sustainability visible so users can make the connection for themselves instead of us telling them about it.”

In 2017, 15 percent of all electricity generated in California came from solar power.

BARNANA

Alumni: Matt Clifford, co-founder and chief operating officer, and Nik Ingersoll, co-founder and chief marketing officer
Campus: San Diego State (Finance/Business, 2009 & 2012)
Environmental Issue: Food waste
Company: Barnana, organic snacks made from upcycled bananas

The average U.S. family of four wastes 1,000 pounds of food every year. Pictured, from left to right, are Barnana co-founders Nik Ingersoll, Caue Suplicy and Matt Clifford.

“The beauty of conscious capitalism is the ability to do good while simultaneously creating economic prosperity.”

— Nik Ingersoll, CMO, Barnana

What’s the difference between a beautiful banana and an ugly one? Absolutely nothing, say Nik Ingersoll and Matt Clifford, alumni of San Diego State University. Even so, half of all bananas worldwide are thrown away simply because they have scuffs, are too ripe or aren’t the right size. “On our quest to end food waste, we use unsalable ‘ugly’ bananas to make our products,” explains Ingersoll, co-founder and CMO of Barnana, a brand of sustainably sourced, organic banana-based snacks.

Together with their partner, Caue Suplicy, founder and CEO of Barnana, Ingersoll and Clifford have saved more than 30 million bananas from the trash bin in just nine years. While most people don’t think twice about throwing out food that’s biodegradable, the truth is that discarded produce still releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas, as it breaks down in the soil.

“The problems in the food industry were simply too big to ignore,” Clifford says. “We discovered that approximately 1.4 billion tons of food are wasted each year, enough to feed 45 percent of the entire world’s population. With 723 million people classified as food insecure, this is a modern tragedy.”

Barnana is not only good for the environment, it’s good for California. To date, the company has created more than 50 jobs, generated more than $70 million in taxable sales and manufactures 85 percent of its goods within the state.

“During my time at SDSU, my strong passion for environmental stewardship and responsible consumption formed,” says Clifford, COO. “To this day, I have business mentors and close friends who were professors at SDSU. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”


PEDEGO

Alumni: Don DiCostanzo, co-founder and chief executive officer, and Terry Sherry, co-founder and chief financial officer
Campus: CSU Fullerton (Business/Finance, 1979 & 1980)
Environmental Issue: Greenhouse gas emissions
Company: Pedego Electric Bikes

The transportation sector is the single largest source of greenhouse emissions in California. Pictured, from left to right, are Pedego co-founders Don DiCostanzo and Terry Sherry.

“I believe the future of all transportation is going to be electric.”

— Don DiCostanzo, CEO, Pedego

Don DiCostanzo and Terry Sherry met while pledging a fraternity at California State University, Fullerton. They were later college roommates, best men at each other’s weddings and now serve as CEO and CFO, respectively, of Pedego Electric Bikes, a company they founded in 2008.

“I use the marketing, finance and accounting tools I learned at Cal State Fullerton in my business every day,” DiCostanzo says.

Pedego offers 14 different types of zero-emissions electric bikes that can travel up to 60 miles on a single charge from a 110-volt outlet. “They're simply bicycles, but we added a motor and a battery to help people ride farther and faster and get up hills,” DiCostanzo explains. "There are no emissions with an electric bike. It's about as green a form of transportation as there is.”

After working in the automotive business for almost 30 years, he became a true believer in renewable energy in 2006 when he purchased his first electric bike. “The only way we're going to get people to be environmentally friendly is if we offer products that make economic sense,” notes DiCostanzo, whose home is nearly 100 percent solar-powered.

“California residents [now] have another alternative for getting around to help combat traffic emissions.”


Green Career Pathways

Here are a few ways to learn your way to a green economy job, says Tom Abram, energy and sustainability officer at San Diego State:

Ecology and Conservation: Studying and protecting natural spaces
Potential majors: biology, ecology, environmental science

Government and Policy: Developing and implementing policy that promotes environmental and social sustainability
Potential majors: political science, public administration, sustainability, urban planning

Green Building Design and Construction: Creating buildings that minimize environmental impact as an engineer, architect, contractor or sustainability consultant
Potential majors: architecture, construction management, engineering, sustainability

Sustainable Food: Growing and promoting healthy and local food 
Potential majors: agriculture, biology, public health, sustainability

Sustainability Management: Working to advance sustainable practices within an organization
Potential majors: business, engineering, environmental science, sustainability 

Find Y​our Major

Search CSU Degrees


Sustainability at the CSU

The California State University is working hard to make our campuses greener and more efficient. The CSU Sustainability Report, released in 2018, examined the university’s progress against its 2014 sustainability goals, including building partnerships with communities and nonprofits to take action on global climate change; increasing opportunities for directed research; and adopting vital best practices to facilitate broader adoption. The CSU continues to encourage greater integration of sustainability into university-wide strategic goals. 

Learn more about each​ CSU campus’s commitment to sustainability.

Story: Michelle McCarthy

Photography & Videography: Patrick Record; courtesy of companies

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For These CSU Alumni, Every Day Is Earth Day
CSU-Space-2019.aspx
  
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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