March 9, 2010

Faculty Expo of Scholarship and Sponsored Research Showcases Recent Activity

The 2010 Faculty Exposition will be held from 3:30-5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10 in the Commons. The Expo provides an opportunity for faculty to share the results of their research and scholarly activities with their colleagues, staff and students, and with the community at large. This event is open to all.

The faculty and a brief summary of their recent work includes:

Consumer Awareness and Quality Perceptions: The Case of Sonoma County Wines
Tom Atkin--Business Administration

This research demonstrates that wine consumers possess a greater awareness of the wine region "Sonoma County" than the smaller appellations (AVA's) located within the region (i.e. Russian River Valley). This was true of both core and marginal wine consumers. A case is made for including the words "Sonoma County" on all wines from the region. Small and medium sized wineries can benefit by developing products and packaging that utilize the Sonoma County designation. Results are based upon a national survey of over 400 wine consumers.

Access By Design (AxD)

Emiliano Ayala--Educational Leadership and Special Education
Brett Christie-Center for Teaching & Professional Development
Janet Hardcastle - School of Education, EnACT grants

Recognizing the value of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as a model pedagogical framework, Access Be Design (AxD) offered 15 faculty from SSU, SFSU, and Cal Poly Pomona the training and support necessary to successfully incorporate UDL principles into their coursework. In addition, AxD established campus-based Faculty Learning Communities (FLC) to compliment UDL faculty workshops. These FLCs provided faculty a forum to mutually consider the scholarship of teaching and learning in focused learning groups. Finally, AxD offered faculty an opportunity to reflect and capture their UDL pedagogical practices utilizing a case story format, produced using Pachyderm. Three Online Video Case Stories were developed which exemplify how AxD faculty addressed specific instructional issues through the incorporation of UDL into their teaching.

Collaborative Autism Training & Support (CATS) Program

Lorna Catford--Psychology
Christina Durham, Amy Arthur Lester (student researchers)

Students in the award-winning Collaborative Autism Training & Support (CATS) Program work directly with children with autism spectrum disorders & their families, plus regional autism experts, in a large community partnership that:
--Trains students and service providers to implement effective autism interventions
--Provides free direct care, respite, resources & family support
--Raises public awareness & understanding of autism.
Students have provided families with over 9,000 hours of support, researched and prepared print and electronic materials, and participated in SSU and community educational events. CATS also offers seminars and is creating a website that includes on-demand videos and transcripts of autism seminars plus other resources.

Does Physiology Matter? Studying the Transition from Curative Efforts to Purely Palliative Care for Newborns with Life Limiting Conditions
Anita Catlin--Nursing
Tiffany Daud--High School Intern Program

Objectives: The study purpose was to isolate the threshold point in which the goal of care for an infant transitions from curative efforts to purely palliative care. When the threshold point is not delineated, barriers exist to treating a dying child as a dying child.
Results: 285 physician and nurse respondents had been involved in the transition to purely palliative care, but 92% indicated that barriers to the process exist. 66% of respondents found lack of consensus among the staff a barrier. Waning physiology and lethal conditions were not the determinants of the transition. At this point in time, the threshold for transition to purely palliative care appears to be parental agreement, as 96% of respondents stated that parents who would not agree to transitioning from technological support to palliative care was the determining factor. Respondents felt that more education for both staff and families was necessary to move end-of-life care forward.

Estimation of tropical rain forest aboveground biomass with small-footprint lidar and hyperspectral sensors

Matthew Clark--Geography

Tropical forests are an important component of the global carbon balance, yet there is considerable uncertainty in estimates of their carbon stocks and fluxes. Our research focuses on evaluating relatively new remote sensing technology, small-footprint lidar and hyperspectral sensors, for the estimation of aboveground biomass in a tropical rainforest landscape. Height and biochemical/biophysical metrics were calculated from lidar and hyperspectral images, respectively, and then related to field-based measurements of biomass. The best model using all 83 biomass plots included two lidar metrics, plot-level mean height and maximum height, with an r2 of 0.90 and root-mean-square error (RMSE) of 38.3 Mg/ha.

NASA Education and Public Outreach at Sonoma State University

Lynn Cominsky--Physics & Astronomy

SSU's NASA Education and Public Outreach group supports four high-energy astrophysics missions: the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (launched in 2008), the Swift Gamma-ray Burst Explorer (launched in 2004), the XMM-Newton mission (launched in 1999) and the upcoming Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR, to be launched in 2012.) These missions detect x-ray or gamma-ray light, observing the most exotic and extreme objects in the Universe: blazing galaxies, intense stellar explosions and super-massive black holes. We develop K-12 curriculum, train thousands of teachers each year, run after-school clubs at two Sonoma county schools, and write a weekly webcomic, Epo's Chronicles. Our mission is to improve STEM education and increase scientific literacy by engaging and inspiring students of all ages with the wonders of the cosmos.

Mining Program Reviews for Perceptions on the Library and Information Literacy
Erin Daniels--University Library

Erin Daniels read 22 program reviews available from Sonoma State University in order to answer the following three questions: what are academic programs saying about the library in the reviews? Are information literacy outcomes present in the learning goals of the departments? And do departments assess information literacy outcomes? Reading the program reviews and systematically scoring them uncovered an insightful picture about how departments view the library, as well as to what degree information literacy is actually integrated and assessed in the curriculum.

Integrated Virtual Learning Platform (IVLP)
Farid Farahmand--Engineering Science
Seema Khan (student researcher)

With the current economic downturns web-based learning is receiving tremendous attention. In this project we have developed an integrated distance learning platform, called Integrated Virtual Learning Platform (IVLP), that enables course material sharing and collaboration between various institutions and instructors in order to provide a cost-efficient and flexible learning and training delivery to multiple remote users. A key advantage of IVLP is that it offers remote access to a collection of online learning tools, such as laboratory experiments, lectures, simulation applets, and tests, while allowing remote students to chat in real-time and participate in virtual face-to-face communication with the instructor.

Investigation of Fluorescent Molecules from Naematoloma Fasciculare
Steven Farmer--Chemistry

Fluorescent molecules are interesting because they have a wide variety of applications in the field of biotechnology. In particular, the mushroom Naematoloma Fasciculare contains a molecule which is highly fluorescent. Naematoloma Fasciculare is a common mushroom which grows in most hardwood forests in Northern California. Initial work in our lab has shown that Naematoloma Fasciculare produces a molecule with pronounced light green fluorescence when exposed to UV light. Although much work has been preformed on the natural products produced by this mushroom, the fluorescent nature of these molecules has yet to be investigated.

Effects of Incubation Temperature on Development and Phenotype in the Western Pond Turtle, Actinemys Marmorata
Nick Geist--Biology
Alexandra Dallara, Nazim Bal, Vanessa Farnham, Amanda Blanchette, Rebecca Gordon (student researchers)

Over 100 eggs of the western pond turtle, Actinemys marmorata, were collected from a Lake County location during June and July of 2008 and 2009. The eggs were incubated under 6 constant temperature regimes, and data were recorded on incubation duration, hatching success, and sex determination. Results demonstrate that the highest viability and shortest incubation duration occurred at intermediate temperatures. Endoscopic examinations verified Type 1a (M-F) sex determination in A. marmorata. We also recorded in situ nest temperatures from 3 nests. High daily cyclical fluctuation in nest temperatures suggests that developmental variables from constant temperature incubation experiments should be reevaluated.

The IPICU Grant: Interdisciplinary Partnerships for Investigations that Connect the University
During 2008/2009, the Faculty Subcommittee on Sponsored Programs (FSSP) was asked to create a new grant opportunity for faculty that would be funded by the Professional Development Fund. In response, the FSSP released the Interdisciplinary Partnerships for Investigations that Connect the University (IPICU) grant program. This program's goal is to incubate innovative, collaborative and interdisciplinary projects among SSU faculty that have the potential to be supported by external funding in the future. The first award was given to Michaela Grobbel, Modern Languages and Literatures, and Karen Brodsky, University Library, for their partnership working to create a monograph for the works of Cejia Stojka.

IPICU Grantees: "Catalog of Works by Romani ('Gypsy') Artist Ceija Stojka"
Karen Brodsky and Michaela Grobbel, using the IPICU award, have been working to create a catalog showcasing the work of Austrian artist Ceija Stojka. Stojka's work was exhibited in the University Library Art Gallery in Fall 2009. This exhibition, for which Grobbel went to Austria to begin the curatorial process, was the first time Stojka's work was shown in the US. Stojka's paintings depict her life as a traveling Romani (Gypsy) woman before and after World War II, the trauma she and other Roma experienced in the Nazi concentration camps, and the hope she has for future generations to overcome oppression. This book will be the first in English about this artist and will raise awareness about Romani culture for English readers.


Pursuing a 'Reformed' American Dream: Welfare Mothers' Narratives about Higher Education, Work, and Family

Sheila Katz--Sociology

Through qualitative longitudinal research with women on welfare who are pursuing higher education after the 1996 welfare reforms, I explore how their narratives emphasize achieving the American Dream through the same pathways that middle-class Americans focus on: higher education, work, and family. Their narratives illustrate their vulnerable position in the labor market, since many of them have recently transitioned off welfare. During the current economic conditions, low-income mothers are especially concerned about increasing unemployment rates, the rising cost of higher education, and housing foreclosures. Also, changes in political administrations signaled a shift in policy priorities for many social safety net programs, such as welfare. This research explores how these policy changes affect these women.

Personal Geographies: Natural History Meets Personal History
Heidi LaMoreaux--Hutchins School of Liberal Studies

Geographic and scientific tools and theories can be used as metaphors to explore, analyze, and create personal histories through both writing and artistic expression. Scientific concepts used to explore personal geographies include a modified soil science theory (Hans Jenny's "Clorpt" model), cores as repositories of the past, reference slides as value markers, and maps of both internal and external personal terrains.

"You Talk About It and You Learn Better:" What Teachers and Their Students Consider Effective Teaching
Paula Lane--Literacy Studies and Elementary Education
Karen Grady--Curriculum Studies & Secondary Education

With funding from an Improving Teacher Quality State Grants Program, faculty from two universities in northern California joined together to form the Redwood Area Academic Literacy Initiative (RAALI). We worked with secondary teachers in rural schools in five counties to develop academic literacy in their content area classrooms. A central goal of the professional development was to enhance teachers' understanding of academic literacy in their content areas through a focus on disciplinary literacies and then to collaborate on ways to transform this understanding into practice. Findings show strong connections between the participants' enhanced understandings of the academic literacy of their discipline, and their students' associated conceptual knowledge development.

US-Mexico Border Reproductive Health
Lena McQuade--Women & Gender Studies

Throughout the early twentieth century, the state of New Mexico had the highest rate of infant mortality in the United States. To better understand this public health crisis, my research investigates the greater historical, social, and transnational context of New Mexico and the specific ways federal under-funding, land loss, and gendered racism had a direct impact on the health and wellbeing of mothers and infants. Additionally, my project details how public health policies and community organizations worked to improve the health outcomes of pregnant women and their children.


Characterizing Deformation of Neogene Rocks near Point Arena, California

Matty Mookerjee--Geology
Daniel Cicchetto (student researcher)

Deformation of the Neogene, Schooner Gulch, Galloway, and Point Arena Formations is dominated by NW-SE trending thrust faults, fault propagation folds, fault bend folds, NE-SW striking veins, as well as N-S striking normal faults. We took measurements along a 4 kilometer section of coastal bluff exposures near Point Arena, CA, extending from Moat Creek beach south to Schooner Gulch beach. The folds typically plunge shallowly to the NW or SE and are nearly parallel to the local trace of the San Andreas Fault (SAF). A maximum compression direction of 210° was calculated from an M-plane analysis of the thirteen meter-scale thrust faults and their associated slickenlines. This is consistent with the orientation of our fold axes and thus is nearly perpendicular to the trace of the SAF. This deformation has been interpreted to be the result of a series of largely blind or poorly exposed imbricate thrust faults formed due to transpression along the SAF system.

Curiosity, Perseverance, and Good Ideas: Pursuing Productive Dispositions in Elementary Mathematics
Kathy Morris--Literacy Studies and Elementary Education

As a result of the 2009 RSCAP Summer Fellowship, a book proposal based on my research of productive dispositions for teaching and learning mathematics in elementary schools has been submitted to Math Solutions Publications. This book illustrates classroom practices that support children's development of dispositions such as perseverance, intellectual risk-taking, curiosity, and courage. It connects the development of productive dispositions with students' enhanced opportunities for developing mathematical reasoning and proficiency. The poster presents the work made possible by the RSCAP award, including key conceptual frameworks, analytic examples of core instructional practices, and an outline of the book.


Monte Carlo Stock Option Valuation and Discrete-Time Hedging With Thin-Plate Splines

Scott Nickleach--Mathematics & Statistics

Stock option prices which do not admit arbitrage are obtained in one of two ways. The first is to solve partial differential equation(s) stemming from the no-arbitrage condition. The second is to solve the corresponding stochastic differential equation(s), and on most occasions to subsequently use Monte Carlo simulation to estimate the value of the option and any desired hedge parameters. In many applications, the former approach is difficult or impossible and the latter is time consuming. As fast estimates are often as important to practitioners as accurate estimates, this research focuses on improving the efficiency of Monte Carlo option valuation techniques. In particular, we examine the usefulness of implementing a discrete-time hedge in the basic Black Scholes setting that calls a fitted thin-plate spline surface to obtain weights for the hedge portfolio.

Archaeology at Little Black Mountain
Adrian Praetzellis--Anthropological Studies Center
Leslie Smirnoff (graduate researcher)

SSU's Anthropological Studies Center partnered with the Sonoma Land Trust to survey archaeological sites and create a management plan for the 500-acre Little Black Mountain Preserve near Cazadero. Led by MA candidate Leslie Smirnoff, SSU interns learned to identify, record, and ethically treat cultural resources that range from Native American petroglyphs to historic homesteads. The project was endorsed by the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians and culminated in Smirnoff's 2009 MA thesis in Cultural Resources Management.

The North Bay Historic Preservation Digital Collection: Presenting North Bay History Online
Lynn Prime and Dayle Reilly--University Library

A California State Library grant launched the library's new North Bay Historic Preservation Digital Collection (http://northbaydigital.sonoma.edu/), which will also be accessible on the Online Archive of California (http://www.oac.cdlib.org/). Students, scholars, and the community will benefit from online availability of these historical images, an important chronicle of the North Bay community's history dating from the mid-1800s. Many of the photos were taken in the 1970s by students participating in Sonoma State's Historic Preservation Program, led by Peter Mellini and Edgar Morse. The documents from that program are now housed in the Library's Regional Collection.

What's Important to You? Community-based Heritage Management in Levuka, Fiji
Margaret Purser and John Wingard--Anthropology

In June and July of 2009, SSU faculty and students participated in an ongoing community-based research program in Levuka, Fiji. The program is designed to help Levuka community members participate in the decision-making and planning processes involved in the nomination of their town to UNESCO's World Heritage List. This summer's work focused on a series of open workshops designed to help community members create a set of locally important heritage sites, events, and 'memory communities.' It was intended that the work inform the Fijian government's development of a management plan for the Levuka World Heritage List nomination. The work exposed some of the challenges and rewards of trying to articulate needs and interests between a small but diverse community, a national political regime in the midst of severe turmoil, and an international organization with the power and authority of UNESCO.

Molecular Magnetic Clusters
Jeremy Qualls--Physics & Astronomy

Magnetic materials have proven to have vast importance to technological advances. Consequently, magnetic systems are the focus of much scientific investigation, including my own. During the summer of 2009, RSCAP funds were awarded to investigate the magnetic properties of a number of magnetic cluster systems. The project was very successful. Time spent in the lab included the successful design and implementation of instrumentation to measure the AC susceptibility of Magnetic Clusters as well as bulk properties of magnetic cluster suspensions. A number of high-end instruments were brought online, materials were characterized, and undergraduate students were incorporated.

Factors promoting disease establishment for Sonoma County woodlands affected by Sudden Oak Death
Nathan Rank--Biology

We analyzed plant community data in 200 plots in eastern Sonoma County. Within this network, bay laurel was the most widely distributed woody species, occurring in 97 percent of plots, followed by coast live oak (72 percent), Douglas-fir (47 percent), California black oak, (45 percent), Pacific madrone (43 percent), Oregon white oak (43 percent), and toyon (41 percent). When plots were established in 2003, we measured abundance of woody species and installed microclimate loggers to measure understory temperature and relative humidity. Since 2003, we have conducted annual surveys of forest structure for each main woody host of P. ramorum. In addition, we surveyed disease severity of P. ramorum from 2004 to 2009 through timed counts of symptomatic leaves on bay laurel. We asked the following questions: 1) Does woody species richness affect pathogen prevalence on bay laurel hosts? 2) Does pathogen prevalence on bay laurel depend on the presence of coast live oak and black oak? 3) How does disease establishment on bay laurel, coast live oak, and black oak progress over time? 4) Does pathogen abundance on bay laurel relate to infection rate of coast live oak?

Advanced Wavefront Sensing for Adaptive Optics
Scott A. Severson--Physics & Astronomy

The science of measuring optical distortions and correcting them in real-time is called "Adaptive Optics." The Adaptive Optics Laboratory in the Department of Physics and Astronomy is home to experiments in the sensing and correcting of these distortions. We have developed a testbed for advanced "wavefront sensing" techniques. We are using the testbed to investigate alternate control architectures for Adaptive Optics. For example: the use of high-precision lenslet arrays (many small lenses) to form pupil-images (images of the telescope opening) on the wavefront sensor (called pyramid wavefront sensing) rather than the common Shack-Hartmann wavefront sensing technique.

Ultraviolet-Light-Emission of ZnO Film Prepared by Electrodepostion
Hongtao Shi--Physics & Astronomy

Timothy Hessong, Kenneth Martinelli, Weston Stauffer (student researchers)
Zinc oxide (ZnO) is a wide bandgap semiconductor which has attracted much interest recently for its unique optical properties. In this project, we use electrochemical reaction to fabricate thin ZnO films. Facilities in the Keck Microanalysis laboratory have been used to investigate the structural and optical properties of these samples. Using the photoluminescence data, we demonstrate that the quality of these films can be improved upon thermal processing, compared to as-grown ones.

Will Marriage Matter? Anticipated Effects of Marriage on Same-Sex Couples
Julie Shulman--Counseling

As many U.S. states, notably CA, are currently facing controversial battles over same-sex marriage, psychologists are beginning to study important relational implications of potential access to and exclusion from marriage for those in same-sex relationships. The current study used an online survey format to explore Californians' anticipated experiences of legalized marriage just prior to the CA Supreme Court's ruling on the legality of same-sex marriage in May, 2008. The principal theme emerging from participants' responses involved a ubiquitous sense of security, including an increased permanence in their couple relationship as well as feeling protected as a unit.

Sonoma State ScholarWorks Digital Archive
Alex Smith--University Library
SSU ScholarWorks Access Team: Alex Smith, Brandon Dudley, Christine Hayes, Dayle Reilly, Karen Brodsky and Raye Lynn Thomas

SSU ScholarWorks is a digital archive designed to capture, preserve and make available research, creative works and the administrative output of Sonoma State University. It provides permanent centralized storage and access to the depth and breadth of the University's intellectual assets. Materials stored in SSU ScholarWorks, which are searchable in Google, offer enhanced visibility over print publication, attracting new audiences and opportunities for collaboration. SSU ScholarWorks is part of a broader CSU initiative.

Grant Funded Community Linkages in Graduate Nursing Education
Wendy Smith--Nursing

The SSU Family Nurse Practitioner program is committed to meeting the needs of underserved populations and has a thriving community linkage component to clinical training where all students have mandatory clinical time in identified underserved sites. The linkage sites are: the Sonoma State University Health Maintenance Center (HMC), the Jewish Community Free Clinic (JCFC) in Rohnert Park, the California Rural Indian Health Board (CRIHB), the Modesto Gospel Mission, the Del Puerto Clinic in Patterson and the Joe Torres Homeless shelter in Chico. The purpose is two-fold, to provide clinical experiences that give students a sense of commitment to underserved populations and to provide a community service with an emphasis on free-to-low-cost health assessment services for underserved and underrepresented populations.

Telerobotic Weapons Systems and the Ethical Conduct of War
John Sullins--Philosophy

Telerobotic weapons systems need to be more carefully designed and deployed in order to minimize the negative impacts they could have on the already shaky ground that supports the ethical conduct of military actions. Using just war theory as a background for discussion, I suggest that the design of telerobotic weapon systems can foster values that either extend just war ideals or not. While recent instances of the use of this technology have appeared to be morally nebulous, I suggest some ways in which this technology may be designed and used in ways that will enhance just war practices. For example, telerobotic weapons might serve to limit casualties, and increase command and control of pilots and soldiers. Also, the same technology used for military reconnaissance can, and should, be used by the media to extend the abilities of war reporters in order to enhance accountability and scrutiny of military affairs. Finally, I address the problems that occur when the operators of these weapons become too distant and isolated from the violence at the other end of their video monitors.

Spanish Language Education in California Before 1850 Database
Robert Train--Modern Languages & Literature
Laurangélica Lechón (student researcher)

This Mini-Grant/IRA funded project involves the ongoing compilation of a database containing: 1) annotated bibliographical references of scholarship related to Spanish language education in pre-1850 California, and 2) bibliographical references, summaries and selected transcriptions of the extant primary texts, mostly in Spanish, from 1769-1850 concerning language education in California. In addition to supporting Dr. Train's work as a teacher-scholar, this database is intended to provide the Sonoma State community with a new resource for learning, teaching, and research about the multilingual histories of California. This project provides a bilingual, advanced undergraduate the opportunity to work collaboratively with a faculty member on unique research. A key objective is to create a model for showcasing the academic achievement and intellectual engagement of our bilingual Latino students, whose linguistic abilities in Spanish as well as English are all too seldom officially recognized at Sonoma State as a factor in academic success.

Gender and Ethnic Disparities Contributing to Overweight in California Adolescents
Mary Ellen Wilkosz--Nursing

Purpose: To explore differences in health behaviors and factors contributing to overweight (OW) 12 to17 year olds in California.
Methods: Data from the 2005 California Health Interview Survey (n=3315) ethnically diverse adolescents were reviewed. Adolescents reported multiple variable thought to contribute to OW.
Results: Overall 56% in this study were overweight (>85th percentile for age and gender). This varied greatly among ethnicities, gender and age. Additional factors including poverty level, parent education and sedentary activities also had an impact. Conclusion: Results suggest gender and ethnic variations in factors that contribute to overweight in California adolescents. To influence the current overweight epidemic, clinicians must develop culturally sensitive and gender-specific interventions that address the unique needs of an ethnically diverse adolescent population.

Investigation for the Bioremediation of Chromium (VI) Using Pseudomonas veronii
Carmen Works--Chemistry
Melissa Herland (student researcher)

Hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen and a common pollutant in ground water. It is extremely water soluble and readily absorbed into biological cells through sulfate and phosphate channels in cell membranes. There has been an ongoing effort to remove hexavalent from areas of high concentrations, and one area that we are exploring is bioremediation. Bioremediation is a method that employs microorganisms, to restore an environment back to its original condition. During previous research in our lab, the bacterium Pseudomonas veronii was discovered and it was determined that this bacterium is able to survive in an environment with hexavalent chromium as well as reduce chromium(VI) to its less toxic form chromium(III) through enzymatic reduction. In our investigation of the potential of bioremediation of P. veronii we have studied the effects of chromium(VI) on the growth of the bacteria and correlated that with the time for chromium(VI) reduction.


Jean Wasp
Media Relations Coordinator
University Affairs
(707) 664-2057
jean.wasp@sonoma.edu