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Staff Picks: Best Stories of the Year

SDSU Marketing and Communications staff chose their favorite NewsCenter stories of 2013.
A student sports an
A student sports an "SDSU 2013" graduation cap at one of this year's commencement ceremonies.

SDSU NewsCenter published a lot of stories this year—594 to be precise.

But which were the most memorable? Which had that certain Aztec appeal?

The staff of Marketing & Communications, who are charged with the care and feeding of Newscenter, selected their favorites of 2013 from stories that delight to those that inspire.

Greg Block, chief communications officer
My favorite story from 2013 wasn't about the story alone; it was about what happened after we published the story. "New Immune System Discovered" is a look at the fascinating breakthrough research of an SDSU post-doctoral fellow. The researcher, Jeremy Barr, posted our story on the social news sharing site, Reddit, and the social world took over. In just a few days, the story had been read by more than 50,000 people, 37,000 of whom came from Reddit. That blew my mind and reinforced to me the power of social media as a way to share our stories worldwide.

Beth Downing Chee, media relations manager
My pick was “A Rockin’ Campus History,” about anthropology professor Seth Mallios’ lecture on the history of rock ‘n’ roll at SDSU. Knowing that some of the greatest musicians of all time — including Joan Baez, the Grateful Dead, Santana, Bob Marley, Madonna — have played on SDSU’s stages is a reminder of this university’s place in San Diego history.

Megan Collins, director of government and community relations

In “Momentum Moves SDSU up the Ranks,” we reported SDSU’s designation as  one of the top “Up-and-Coming Schools” in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report‘s 2013  ranking of America’s Best Colleges. Our strategic plan, Building on Excellence, is all about advancing SDSU’s record of progressive growth in excellence, so it was especially sweet to be recognized in this prestigious ranking for “making the most promising and innovative changes in the areas of academics, faculty and student life.”  

Giselle Domdom, director of digital media
My favorite story of the year, “The Making of an Aztec,” was about SDSU’s initiative and commitment to engage alumni. By offering new ways for alumni to stay connected, the Office of Alumni Engagement reminds us the Aztec journey doesn’t end at graduation. When you’re an Aztec, you’re an Aztec for life! It’s inspiring to see alumni help and hire fellow Aztecs and to learn how people reconnect with the university.

Coleen Geraghty, director of publications
It's about the students, of course. My favorite from 2013 was “11 Students Awarded Fulbrights.” That extraordinary number of awards marked SDSU as a Top Producer of Fulbrights among U.S. universities. Though we can't make any direct correlations to the NewsCenter story, it turns out several dozen current students applied for 2014 Fulbright awards, setting the stage for another successful result next year.

Natalia Elko, media relations specialist
My favorite story from 2013 was one that highlighted the innovation and collaboration of SDSU's incredible researchers. "High-tech Cerebral Palsy Research" is about how Ignatius Nip, a speech, language and hearing sciences professor is working with students, using the same motion capture technology that transfers actors expressions to computer-generated film characters to look at the speech movements of children with cerebral palsy. The idea of using a high-profile technology to help children communicate better is just one example of how SDSU faculty are leaders in innovation and discovery. The story also highlights the emphasis on undergraduate research and community connections.

Hallie Jacobs, new media editor
“Combating Concussions” was a favorite of mine in 2013. Daniel Goble, an exercise and nutritional sciences professor at SDSU, worked with students to develop a device that can be used after a collision to measure balance with 99 percent accuracy.  The story was picked up by local TV and radio stations, including San Diego 6 and KPBS, and featured in science publications.  

Lori Padelford, senior graphic artist
I'm always fascinated with the prospect of life on other planets, and so I chose “Astronomers Discover Two Habitable Zone “Super Earths.” San Diego State’s connection to NASA is proof positive that our academic excellence is out of this world!

Elizabeth Pecsi-Guerrero, writer/researcher
“Inspired by the Gods; Made by an Aztec” appeals to me as an example of creativity, novelty, and a study of surrounding environs all pulled together into sculpture. The idea of someone capturing a cultural moment in a meaningful and interactive way enhances my appreciation for the subtleties of daily routine.   

Michael Price, science and research writer
I'm going with a story that combines my loves of history and science and good storytelling: “Bio-Archaeological Dig Exposes Ancient Culture.”

John Signer, graphic artist
My pick is “Strings Attached.” It’s a very moving story of the Bunnell family of musicians who not only survived overwhelming tragedy, but stuck together and excelled in the face of it.

Catherine Snapp, presidential communications manager

My favorite is “$400 Million Raised for SDSU Success,” published in May, when we reached 80 percent of our campaign goal. The success of The Campaign for SDSU shows the great reservoir of support for SDSU and for our students – a reservoir that the campaign is just beginning to tap. This is our first step toward ensuring that future generations of Aztecs will benefit from the same high-quality education that students enjoy today.

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