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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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More than 370 San Diego State University undergraduate and graduate students participated in this year's S3. (SDSU)

2023 SDSU Student Symposium Another Success

More than 370 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students presented their research, scholarship and creative projects
By Sarah White, Melinda Sevilla, Peggy Pico; video by Rachel Crawford

The 16th annual SDSU Student Symposium, or S3, showcased more than 370 San Diego State University undergraduate and graduate students’ discoveries, innovations and artistic works in the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union on March 3-4.


“What I like about S3 is that it’s not about one specific discipline, so after I present, I’m able to walk around and learn about other areas of study and projects across campus,” said mechanical engineering senior and poster presenter Kathryn Tippett, whose favorite projects were at the performing arts session.


“It is one of the best opportunities for our students to learn how to synthesize and present their research projects to the general public,” said Karen May-Newman, professor of mechanical engineering and executive director of STEM teaching, learning and innovation.


A special set of posters and oral presentation sessions highlighting the work of students in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry were held in honor of Diane Smith, a beloved professor in the department who died in October. Several of Smith’s loved ones and former students returned to share their memories of how she always pushed them to achieve more than they thought they could.


“This is where the knowledge that’s eventually taught in the classroom is shared,” said Rees Garmann, a chemistry professor who moderated a session of talks.


Students from every college participated in the two-day event. They explained work they had done as part of their classes or as research assistants collaborating with graduate students and faculty mentors.


“We had a public health research class last semester that allowed us to choose a research topic, collect and analyze data, and create a survey using our statistical software, SPSS,” said public health undergraduate presenter Amber Davis of her research project on health care access among domestic and international SDSU students.


Hana Foo, a jewelry major in the School of Art and Design, shared the jewelry collection, titled “Gemstone Apothecary,” that she produced while participating in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) with professor Sondra Sherman. Several of the brooches featured layered or engraved elements inspired by the chemical diagrams and forms of gemstones and plants like citrine, rose quartz and Belladonna, which have long been associated with healing or medicinal properties.


“Getting to work with a mentor that’s a clinical psychologist is great because that’s what I want to do,” said psychology major Elizabeth Fenelon who presented a poster on research she did under the supervision of College of Education professor Kelsey Dickson. Fenelon hopes to present her poster at additional psychology conferences later this spring.


“The Symposium is a great place to understand other people’s research,” said Sophia Liu, a student at the School of Public Health. “Everyone here has been working so hard, all school year. It’s finally the day to share our findings.”


Faculty, staff, alumni and members of the San Diego research community judged the students’ presentations for their originality and how well they demonstrated expertise in their area of interest.


Based on the judges’ evaluations, seventy projects were selected as the most excellent across dozens of categories. The award-winning students received between $250 and $500 for a total of nearly $20,000 in prize money. The full list of award winners is posted online.


Ten students selected as President’s Award winners now advance to the 37th annual California State University Student Research Competition to be held at SDSU April 28-29.


The event and several of the student awards were supported by platinum sponsors Hologic and Eli Lilly & Company, gold sponsor Northrop Grumman and silver sponsor Qualcomm.


16th Annual SDSU Student Symposium
More than 370 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students presented their research, scholarship and creative projects