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Stimulating Weekend for Student Researchers

Hundreds of students participated in the fourth annual Student Research Symposium March 4-5.
By Jordan Bowditch

It was a stimulating weekend at the fourth annual Student Research Symposium as more than 400 undergraduate and graduate students exhibited their research projects in Montezuma Hall.

The symposium started Friday, March 4, followed by additional oral and poster presentations, award announcements and a keynote speech by SDSU President Stephen L. Weber on Saturday, March 5.

“I want to begin by congratulating you all on participating in the fourth annual San Diego State Research Symposium, and most of all for your willingness to test yourself in this competition,” Weber said to participating students.

“In the end, this symposium is a chance to stretch and grow and engage in a new challenge. That is what education is all about.”  

More than lab work

From psychology to cell and molecular biology to the creative arts, students’ projects explored a wide array of disciplines.

In one study, second-year psychology graduate student Michelle Jackson examined the relationship between parent-child reading styles and school readiness. She concluded that parents who used more interactive reading styles correlated to higher scores on student readiness exams.

Judge and faculty member Scott Kelley recognized the success of the event, “I’ve been to several similar conferences, and this is really high quality.”

He added that the event was very interactive as students were well-informed on their respective topics, and attendees were eager to learn about their findings.

Award-winning research

On Saturday, awards were given out, including the symposium’s most prestigious, the President’s Award. The award is given to the most outstanding oral presentation in each of five categories, including:

  • Physical sciences
  • Health studies and life sciences
  • Engineering, informatics and business
  • Humanities, creativity and the arts
  • Social, behavioral and educational studies

An additional five President's Awards are given to the next highest rated presentations across all categories, for a total of 10. Winners of the President’s Award continue on to the system-wide California State University (CSU) Student Research Competition, which will take place May 6-7 at California State University, Fresno. This year’s President’s Award winners include:

  • Cassie Abate, musical theater graduate student working with faculty mentor Rick Simas, College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, “Emotion Through Tap: The Expressive Qualities of Rhythm, Sound, and Style in an American Dance Form”
  • Julia Busch, cell and molecular biology graduate student working with faculty mentor Elizabeth Dinsdale, College of Sciences, “Copper tolerance in Bacteria associated with Macrocystis pyrifera
  • Martis Cowles, cell and molecular biology doctoral student working with faculty mentor Ricardo Zayas, College of Sciences, “A Planarian Ortholog of LIS1 is Required for Stem Cell Maintenance”
  • Addie Fortmann, clinical psychology doctoral student working with faculty mentor Linda Gallo, College of Sciences, “The role of psychosocial resources and risk factors in the association between socioeconomic status and cardiometabolic risk in Mexican-American women”
  • Roberto Gutierrez, language and communicative disorders doctoral student working with faculty mentor Lewis Shapiro, College of Health and Human Services, “Plausibility, grammaticality and pupillometry”
  • Timothy Mackey, global health doctoral student working with faculty mentor Thomas Novotny, College of Health and Human Services, “Off Label, Off Limits?: Assessing the regulation, debate, enforcement and potential policy considerations of off-label promotion”
  • Paul Schroeder, physics undergraduate student working with faculty mentor Fletcher Miller, College of Sciences, “Investigation of a suspension of sub-micron carbon particles generated by a hydrocarbon cracking chamber”
  • Maria Visperas, media studies graduate student working with faculty mentor Amy Schmitz Weiss, College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, “Materializing the Body through Performative Frames of Sexual Pathology and Assimilation: An Analysis of Direct-to-Consumer Pharmaceutical Ads on Erectile Dysfunction”
  • Alison Williams, education graduate student working with faculty mentor Jessica Pierson, College of Education, “An Elementary Look at Productive Disposition”
  • Robert Wilson, chemistry doctoral student working with faculty mentor Miriam Bennett, College of Sciences, “Self-assembly of Group-III Tin Nitride Clusters:  Unique Anionic Ammonia and Ammonium Analogues”

Other awards presented on Saturday included:

  • Provost’s Award, which recognizes the 12 most outstanding poster presentations across all categories
  • Dean’s Awards, which recognizes the top two oral presentations in each college and the top oral presentation from the Imperial Valley Campus
  • Undergraduate Research Excellence Award, which recognizes the top 10 undergraduate oral or poster presentations outside of those recognized by the President’s, Dean’s or Provost’s awards

More information

For more information on the Student Research Symposium, visit the website of the Division of Research Affairs. Additional photos are available on the 2011 Student Research Symposium Facebook page.
Stimulating Weekend for Student Researchers
2011 Student Research Symposium