outside panorama of housing villageSonoma State University is listed in the top 20 "Best College Dorms" by the Princeton Review. The university is ranked at No. 12, and is the only California State University to make the list, which includes just four West Coast schools. Sonoma State is also ranked No. 63 in the Western Region by the Princeton Review.

flying dinosaur illustrationSonoma State University biology professor Nick Geist published his work on the lung structure and functioning of the flying reptile Pterosaurs in an article entitled "Breathing in a Box" in the journal Anatomical Record. The research was also recently profiled in Brian Switek's' National Geographic blog Phenomena.

Janet HessThough the topics and approach are vastly different, Sonoma State University professor Janet Hess finds similarities in the sense of place and culture in the two books she released this year.

Hess, who counts a Ph.D. from Harvard amongst her numerous degrees, is a professor of art history and African studies in the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies. Her new books, "The Art of Richard Mayhew," and "Osage and Settler: Reconstructing Shared History Through an Oklahoma Family Archive," weave touches of personal narrative with historical perspective.

nursing students by poster in quadSonoma State University's Nursing Transition into Practice Certificate Program started three years ago with 38 students. Next month, 109 students will be completing the 10-week course that has a 98 percent job placement rate.

"There's been a wave of retirements in the nursing community," says SSU nursing department chair Deborah Roberts. "We need an avalanche of new nurses."

illustration of men holding hands"People's friendships aren't as different as they may seem," says Sonoma State University sociology professor Brian Gillespie, the lead author of a 25,000-subject friendship study published June 18 in the journal PLoS One. "There are, in fact, some noteworthy similarities."

It was those similarities that surprised Gillespie in the paper, Homophily, Close Friendship, and Life Satisfaction Among Gay, Lesbian, Heterosexual, and Bisexual Men and Women. "There are fewer significant differences between gay men, lesbians, and bisexual men and women and how they utilize their friendships than we expected," he says.

"The fact that these similarities exist, where we originally expected some differences based on gender composition, friendship type, and sexual orientation, points to greater gender egalitarianism and gay, lesbian and bisexual acceptance," says Gillespie.

Thomas TargettWith NASA's flyby of Pluto, the United States became the first nation to visit every planet in the solar system. Sonoma State University physics and astronomy professor Thomas Targett weighs in on the new images and their importance to space exploration.

angelique lopezSonoma State University student-athletes recorded the highest grade point average in the school's athletics history in 2014-15 academic year. The 290 student-athletes combined to earn a 3.037 GPA, with 55 Seawolves earning All-Academic honors.

"Our top priority has always been academic excellence," said Bill Fusco, senior director of intercollegiate athletics at SSU. "To see the unprecedented effort put forth by our student-athletes this past year is quite impressive. We are extremely proud of their individual and collective efforts to not only excel in competition, but to excel in the classroom as well."

lizthach.pngLiz Thach, Master of Wine, has been named Sonoma State University's Distinguished Professor of Wine.

The new title comes as part of the Wine Business Institute Board's effort to support the growth of the institute and its academic and research programs. "I am pleased to grant this well-deserved title of Distinguished Professor of Wine to Liz Thach," said Ruben Armiñana, president of Sonoma State University. "Her accomplishments as a professor and Master of Wine make her the ideal candidate to carry out the initiatives of the Wine Business Institute within the scope of this new role."

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