SJSU Student Researchers Recognized by CSU

The California State University Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program Recognizing Outstanding Undergraduate Distinction (PROUD) honored two San Jose State students and two alumni in its most recent edition. The publication summarizes the work of the LSAMP program statewide to support underrepresented minorities in pursuing degrees in STEM while also acknowledging outstanding scholars at each CSU campus.

Fauna Yarza, a biological sciences student with a concentration in microbiology, received the Outstanding Academic and Research Award. She works with Professor Elizabeth Skovran as an undergraduate research assistant. She is studying a bacteria that has the potential for use in biofuels and biodegradable plastics and presented at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students last year, where she won an award. While working in the research lab, she has maintained a 3.75 GPA in her courses and plans to pursue a doctorate in microbiology.

Cynthia Ouandji, a biomedical engineering student, also received the Outstanding Academic and Research Award. She works in a microfluidics lab and is a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. She has pursued multiple research projects including one that involves synthesizing a cost-effective silver-based antimicrobial compound. In 2015, Cynthia was one of ten students accepted into the Summer Program Undergraduate Research in the Life and Biomedical Sciences (SPUR LABS), conducting research in the Cardiac Computing lab.

SJSU alumnus Jose Alvarez, ’15 Biomedical Engineering, received the Outstanding Alumnus Academic and Research Award while Beatriz Camacho, ’15 Biochemistry, received the Outstanding Alumna with a Compelling Personal Story Award.

View the full CSU LSAMP Proud publication.

Rachael French and Miranda Worthen Receive Early Career Investigator Award

The San Jose State University Research Foundation has selected the recipients of the 2016 Early Career Investigator Award: Associate Professor Rachael French, from the Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science, and Assistant Professor Miranda Worthen, from the Department of Health Sciences and Recreation, College of Applied Sciences and Arts. The Early Career Investigator subcommittee, which includes Research Foundation board members and faculty, recommended their selection for this year’s honor.

French has received more than $1.2 million in external research funding, either as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator. Using the common fruit fly (Drosophila) as a research model, her lab seeks to identify the neurodevelopmental pathways that are altered by exposure to alcohol during development, and the genes underlying those pathways. Understanding these pathways may lead to future therapeutic measures to treat fetal alcohol syndrome. She mentors both undergraduate and graduate students in her lab. The students who have worked in her lab have achieved exceptional levels of success, winning awards for outstanding presentations and going on to promising academic careers of their own.

Worthen’s research examines the psychosocial experiences of vulnerable populations that have undergone high levels of trauma, with an emphasis on those who have participated in armed forces or have been impacted by exposure to war. Her publication track record is lengthy and impressive, with many of her articles published in high impact factor journals. She has been awarded external funding for her work with the Native American Health Center on suicide prevention, youth empowerment and tobacco use reduction among urban Native youth. She frequently presents at conferences throughout the United States and in Europe.

Save the Date

French and Worth will be honored at SJSU’s annual Celebration of Research, to be held on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom.

The SJSU Research Foundation Early Career Investigator Awards recognizes tenure-track faculty who have excelled in areas of research, scholarship or creative activity as evidenced by their success in securing funds for research, publishing in peer-reviewed journals, and carrying out other important scholarly and creative activities at an early or beginning point in their careers at SJSU. Our two recipients are examples of individuals who have achieved this level of success.

The SJSU Research Foundation established two Early Career Investigator Awards to encourage participation in research, scholarship and creative activity beyond those colleges where large numbers of faculty have traditionally participated. One award goes to a faculty member in the Colleges of Science or Engineering, and another is made to a faculty member from all other colleges. Each winner receives a cash award of $1,000 to be used at their discretion.

Cheruzel Research Lab Connects Students to Skills

Dr. Lionel Cheruzel, an associate professor of chemistry in the College of Science, has been working on light-driven biocatalysts work with students in his research lab since joining San Jose State in 2009.

“We are making good progress, thanks to a great team of research students over the years,” he said, on a Friday afternoon in his Duncan Hall office.

Cheruzel will be sharing his research on Oct. 19, at noon, in MLK 255/257, as part of the fall 2016 University Scholars Series. His research is currently funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and he strives to offer opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds in his lab.

Most semesters he has 15 to 20 students working with him on biocatalysts that may someday create green and sustainable synthesis pathways for pharmaceuticals, fragrances and fine chemicals. He and his students have published 10 articles since 2010. He focuses on recruiting undergraduate students, but also hosts high school interns during the summer and supports graduate-level researchers.

“I like recruiting lower division students because they can stay in the lab longer – for three or four years,” he said. “I get to see them grow as a researcher.”

Cheruzel recruits his students from chemistry, biology and engineering classes. For the last three years, Mallory Kato, ’09 Chemistry, ’13 MS Chemistry, has helped with the experiments and managing the lab.

Like Cheruzel, Kato enjoys working with students in the lab, and she sees the benefit of lab work to understanding the curriculum from her own experience as a student.

Chemistry master’s student Caroline Harmon and Evelynn Henry, ’16 Biochemistry, said one of the greatest things they learned from Cheruzel is how to conduct research with limited resources.

“The way Dr. C uses things in an original way – making it work for what he needs – is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned,” Harmon said. “Sometimes I can see how the wheels are churning.”

Henry placed as a finalist in the 2016 SJSU Student Research Competition for her project with Cheruzel as her faculty mentor.

“We are getting to apply things we learned,” she said. “It is very different. I learned a lot on site, and it made me appreciate my education.”

While Cheruzel said he enjoys teaching, his true passion is working with students in the lab.

 

“Research makes me happy,” he said.

Student Animator Wins Scholarship

Maaike Scherff

Maaike Scherff

Association Internationale du Film d’Animation-Hollywood (ASIFA – The International Animated Film Society) and Animation Educators Forum (AEF) awarded SJSU Animation/Illustration student Maaike Scherff a scholarship to support her continuing education in the field of animation. Scherff is one of eight students from animation schools around the world to receive a total of $30,000 in scholarships for the 2016-17 academic year. Applicants submitted portfolio/demo reels, individual proposals and letters of recommendation from faculty. Scholarships were awarded based on merit and are intended to support the students in their course of study.

Scherff is currently a contract artist and production assistant at Sony PlayStation, in addition to being a senior in the A/I program. Previously, she has worked on projects such as “The Green Ninja Show” and “Bound for Glory.” She has also interned at Nickelodeon and freelanced for various books, mobile games, and board games. She is set to graduate in May 2017.

 

Faculty and Staff Invited to Submit Publications for Annual Author Awards

Attendees of the Annual Author Awards look at the 2015 publications.

Attendees of the 2015 Annual Author Awards look at faculty and staff publications. Photo by Brandon Chew.

San Jose State Univeristy faculty and staff who have published a book or other major work in 2016 will be celebrated at the Annual Author Awards on Nov. 7, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library Room 225/229.

Authors who have penned scholarly books, works of fiction or non-fiction, poetry, art books, textbooks, anthologies, edited books, plays, video or music published between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2016 are invited to submit information about their publication and a brief summary to be recognized at the annual celebration on Nov. 7. (Vanity press, self-published books, unpublished manuscripts, pamphlets, brochures, custom-published course anthologies, book chapters and course packs do not qualify.)

Submissions for the Annual Author Awards will be accepted online at goo.gl/m5NJVP through Oct. 7. Please deliver a copy of the book or publication to the Library Administration Office on the fourth floor or send a copy to Elisabeth Thomas via campus mail zip code 0028 by Oct 14. Notify Elisabeth Thomas if the publication is only available in e-book format.

The Annual Author Awards is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, University Library and the Spartan Bookstore.

For more information or questions, call Library Dean Tracy Elliott at 408-808-2419 or Outreach Librarian Elisabeth Thomas at 408-808-2193.

sjsu-authors-request-for-submission_2016 (PDF)