Research Matters: Provost Funds 29 Projects for Student, Faculty Teams

nathanrank.jpegStudent research, scholarship and creative activity capitalize on the strength of the faculty and add currency to students' educational experience, says Provost Andrew Rogerson. Aiming to strengthen the major opportunities that undergraduate students at SSU have for compelling research, Rogerson funded 29 grants for faculty-student teams this semester.

"These experiences will become increasingly important as students face career and graduate school environments. says Rogerson. "An undergraduate scholarship experience helps students' ability to think logically, write clearly, marshall evidence and work in teams - all of which we wish for our graduates."

The funds came from generous donors as well as from the Steve Norwick Memorial Fund.

Those awarded grants include:

Barbara Bloom, Criminology and Criminal Justice Studies; Alexandra Pech, McNairs Scholar.
"Predicting and Fostering Resilience in Children of Incarcerated Parents"

Over the past several decades, a growing body of research has documented the collateral effects of parental incarceration on children's well-being. General consensus focuses on children who are exposed to multiple risk factors including poor parent-child attachment, material hardship and family instability. Less is known about the protective factors that reduce risks and foster resilience among children of incarcerated parents. This exploratory study examines developmental supports in families, schools and communities that promote personal resilience and strengths in children of incarcerated parents. Funds support Professor Barbara Bloom's McNair Scholar student mentee, Alexandria Pech, in the presentation of her exploratory study "Predicting and Fostering Reliance in Children of Incarcerated Parents" at the Western Society of Criminology 41st Annual Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii.

paolucciresearch.jpegMatthew Callahan, Psychology
"The proof is in the punch: Measuring direct aggression following masculinity threat"

What are the consequences of being told to "man up"? Research in social psychology shows that men tend to police each other's masculinity. The grant funds the purchase of a punching bag with an attached sensor so that the force of a punch can be measured. Researchers expect to find is that men whose masculinity was threatened men will punch harder than non-threatened men.

fujunbernie.jpegMichael Cohen, Biology
"Nutrient Mining by Plant-degrading Bacteria"

Funding will support several individual student projects as they study the means by which some mangrove-decomposing bacteria remove lignin, their adaptions to the inhibitory effects of phenolic products of lignin degradation, and the implications of these survival strategies for nutrient cycling in the mangrove ecosystem.

Lynn Cominsky, Physics/Astronomy
"CubeSat Project at SSU"

Funding will support the construction of a next generation CubeSat at Sonoma State University. Funding also will support student participation at a future CubeSat conference and parts to construct a ground system antenna so that telemetry from satellite can be received directly from the satellite.

Farid Farahmand, Engineering Science
"Water Monitoring Network Development at the Fairfield Osborn Preserve"

Creation of a pilot project where engineering students will design and implement a portable water monitoring system that can measure water consumption in the Fairfield Osborn Preserve. Collected data will be transmitted and stored in a dedicated database accessible to all students and general public.

Farid Farahmand, Engineering Science
"Sensor Network Development at the Fairfield Osborn Preserve"

Employment of two undergraduate students to assist with the design and installation of the Osborn Sensor Network. Experience will develop student's ability to think logically, trouble-shoot problems, and to gain valuable experiences in creating designs that are robust to failure.

Steve Farmer, Chemistry
"Investigation of Fluorescent Molecules from Gymnopilus croceoluteus"

Funds will be used to purchase expendable materials needed to continue research into the generation of fluorescent molecules in relation to a mushroom's environment.

Derek Girman, Biology
"Phenology and Microgeography of Herpetofauna in Response to Climate Effects"

Derek Girman's funds will help support Adrrienne Ash and Paultette Loubet as they study the impacts of climate variables on phenology and microgeoography of herpetological species in two local preserves: The Fairfield Osborn Preserve and the Pepperwood Preserve.

Michelle Goman, Geography
"Dendrochronological Analysis at Fairfield Osborn Preserve"

Funds will help expand the type of analyses students will be able to undertake at Fairfield Osborn Preserve. Monies will be used to purchase equipment and supplies for dendrochronological analysis.

cheetah.jpegKarin Jaffe, Anthropology
"Behavioral and physiological study of cheetah mating behavior at Safari West"

Researching funding will be applied to undergraduate Gillian King-Bailey's research which combines behavioral observation with fecal steroid analyses. King-Bailey has already conducted 10 months of behavioral observations and has a significant collection of samples ready to be analyzed.

Karin Jaffe, Anthropology
"Cross-fostering of infant gazelle by Greater Kudu at Safari West"

Awarded funds will be applied as students Nicole Tillquist and Gini Michels explore the effectiveness of the practice of fostering infant gazelles with other antelope species. The outcome of this project promise to help Safari West determine which sorts of rearing practices yield the best results when antelope infants cannot be reared by their own mothers.

Karin Jaffe, Anthropology
"Applied Primate Ethology Research at the San Francisco Zoo"

Funding will aid the research projects of 2 SSU students. Andrew McCrory is exploring the hair-plucking behavior of Mandrills at the San Francisco Zoo. Also supported is Bibi Rahimzada, whose research centers around the social behavior of an all male group of squirrel monkeys.

Karin Jaffe, Anthropology
"Social behavior of captive mandrills at the San Francisco Zoo"

This research project investigates the social behavior of a mandrill group at the San Francisco Zoo. Data recorded by Annmarie McPeck will be compared to published accounts of mandrill social behavior in other zoos and the wild to determine if whether the social dynamics of the group approximate that of other mandrill groups.

halderwithstudent.jpegHaieder Khaleel, Engineering Science
"Development of Optically Transparent Antenna for Flexible Self-Powered Wireless Systems"

Funding will allow the investigation of the electrical and mechanical properties of a transparent conductive oxide to further develop a optically transparent antenna.

Rheyna Laney, Geography
"Sandhill Cranes in the Northern Sacramento Valley"

Funds will grant one or two students the opportunity to travel to Willows, CA, to perform fieldwork on the relationship between land covers and sandhill crane populations. The goal of this project is the creation of "sandhill crane potential maps", maps that will identify agricultural working lands with habitat suitable for cranes.

Jennifer Lillig, Chemistry
"Investigation of key molecular features in the targeting and toxicity of anti-Listeria proteins"

In this project, two undergraduate students will compare the ability of two natural bacteriocins and 4 chemically modified bacteriocins derivatives to target and kill Listeria, a food-born pathogen. This pathogen has been found to contaminate a variety of raw and processed foods including vegetables, meats, and dairy products.

Lauren Morimoto, Kinesiology
"The Impact of Backward Walking on Hamstring Flexibility"

This study examines the impact of a 10-week backward walking regiment on hamstring flexibility in healthy university students. Funds will be used as reimbursement for study participants.

malloryrice.jpegKarina Nielsen, Biology
"Elemental analysis of coralline algae: variation in Ca: Mg ratios in the intertidal zone

Funds will be used to purchase extensive expendable supplies for exploratory research. Karina Nielsen and Mallory Rice, SSU undergraduate (left), are undertaking elemental analysis of the composition of calcified algae in intertidal zones and responses to changes in pH conditions.

Mark Perri, Chemistry
"Pesticide Analysis of Local Water and Flora"

Funding will support students Ben Diamond and Michael Haggamrk as they analyze pesticides on the Sonoma State campus and in locally grown fruit. Monies will be used to purchase consumables needed to further sample analysis.

Nathan Rank, Biology
"Insect Diversity and Herbivore Loads on California Bay Laurel, Umbellularia californica, in the Fairfield Osborn Preserve

This research project will investigate insect species in the Fairfield Osborn Preserve found on the California Bay Laurel. Research will focus on leaf chewing and leaf-piercing herbivorous species. Funds will facilitate the purchase of necessary materials such as storage drawers and collection equipment.

Napoleon Reyes, Criminology and Criminal Justice
"Perception of White-Collar Crime among Students at Sonoma State University"

Funding will finance the opportunity for undergraduate Renee Olsen to participate in the 2014 Annual Conference of the Western Society of Criminology. Renee Olsen will be presenting results of research into the perception of white-collar crime among SSU students.

millsshi.pngHongtao Shi, Physics/Astronomy
"Proposal to Build and Test an Optical System for Applications in Medical Physics and Astronomy"

Research funds will allow the designing and implementation of an optical system to produce high quality images by taking advantage of high-energy photons. The optical system will have a wide array of applications between both medical physics and astronomy.

Hongtao Shi, Physics/Astronomy
"Modular Sensor Array Platform: Environmental Monitoring System for Scientific Applications"

Funding will facilitate the design and building of a modular sensor array to study how environmental parameters such as temperature, pressure, humidity and most importantly the level of CO2 could affect a student's learning experience on campus. Research can lead to collaborative work between physics, psychology, and possibly kinesiology.

Heather Smith, Psychology
"When Forgiveness Backfires: Observer Reactions to In-group Interactions/Does University Identification Lead to University Engagement"

Funding will support participant stipends and materials for psychological experiments. The experiments aim to explore the perception of forgiveness within and between groups of people and tendencies of student involvement in University affairs.


Cindy Stearns, Women and Gender Studies
"Body Image Practices and Concerns of Asian Pacific Islander Americans"

This project will fund undergraduate Kimberly Liaz to attend the Pacific Sociological meeting in Portland, Oregon. Her research explores the body image practices and concerns of Asian Pacific Islander Americans.

targett.jpegThomas Targett, Physics/Astronomy
"The Size-Mass Relation of Galaxies

This research project will measure the size-mass ratio of galaxies out to a significantly larger distance than the current limits in the literature. Funds will be used to purchase software used to access thousands of pre-existing and personal scripts tailored to astronomical data reduction and analysis.

Elisa Velasquez-Andrade, Psychology
"Diversity Training for College Students: Discoveries, Learning, and Reflections"

This study will evaluate the impact of a diversity training specifically developed for college students. Students will receive training on how to foster effective and respectful interactions centered on culture, race/ethnicity, gender orientation and socio-economic status amongst others. Pre and post-training questionnaire responses will be compared.

Eric Williams, Criminology and Criminal Justice
"Latina Underrepresentation in La School"

Funds will support undergraduate, Desirae Sanchez, as she travels to Honolulu, Hawaii to present her research at the Western Society of Criminology's 41st Annual Conference.

Carmen Works, Chemistry
"Isolation and Characterization of a Novel 15.6 kDa Protein isolated from Bovine Liver. A Possible Novel Molecule for Treatment of Insulin Resistance and Development of Type-2 Diabetes"

Funding will allow the purchase of necessary research materials to explore the structure of a chromium binding protein. Chromium has been shown to reduce insulin resistance in both human and animal models; however, the molecular mechanism mediating this effect is poorly understood.

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