January 2018 Newsletter: Student Researchers Honored at Biomedical Conference

Undergraduate students Mulatwa Haile, left, and Nebat Ali, received awards for their research presentations at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in November. (Photo: James Tensuan, ’15 Journalism)

By Melissa Anderson

Mulatwa Haile and Nebat Ali have several years of research experience between them—and recently received an award for presentations of their work at a national conference—though they are both still in their junior year as undergraduates at San Jose State University.

The students applied to be part of programs on campus that aim to give research opportunities to undergraduate, underrepresented, students in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Haile, a biological sciences student with a concentration in systems physiology who is minoring in chemistry and also hopes to complete an African American Studies minor, applied for the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program. Ali, a biological sciences student with a concentration in microbiology, started out with the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) and worked wi Dr. Miri VanHoven.

“I got accepted to (Dr.) Katherine Wilkinson’s lab in the biological sciences department,” Haile said. “Ever since then I have developed my love of science and research.”

She noted that as an undergraduate it is challenging to balance working in a lab where she can learn techniques and make connections that will benefit her in the future while also finding the time to study. One of the most valuable lessons she learned is time management and trouble shooting. The students are now involved in Maximizing Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Training in Academic Research (MARC U-STAR) program.

“Both the programs have made the gap between me and my ambition smaller, whether that be financially by offering support or by providing an oasis of information,” Haile said, humbly adding, “I am extremely grateful for the diversity programs. They have given the not-so-extraordinary-me an opportunity to do extraordinary things.”

Ali agreed that the research experience has helped her in many aspects of her educational career, including applying concepts from class to the experiments with which she is involved.

“These programs really helped guide me and provide a network of students and professors to connect with,” she said. “These programs provide an amazing support system for us minority students that bridges the gap between undergraduate and graduate school.”

Last fall, they traveled to the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Phoenix, Arizona, where they connected with more than 2,000 like-minded students to present research findings. The SJSU cohort included 25 students who presented 16 posters and conducted two talks, with the support of faculty members Dr. Karen Singmaster, Dr. Alberto Rascon, Dr. Cleber Ouverney and Wilkinson.

Haile presented her research on the effects of obesity on spinal cord excitability and Ali presented work on how nematodes evolved to avoid Streptomyces bacteria. The two were among the select students from across the nation to receive awards for their presentations.

“I have attended regional professional conferences, but not one that was so large,” Ali said. “ABRCMS was my first national conference. It was an incredible learning experience and everything from the speakers to the exhibitors weregreat.”

Ali noted that historically white males have dominated the field of science.
“Going to ABRCMS and seeing the diversity and all the minorities represented there made me think of all the potential that lies within those that are underrepresented in the fields of STEM,” she said. “Having these programs for underrepresented students is one crucial step in breaking the barriers that restrict us from attaining our full potential.”

In addition to RISE, LSAMP and MARC, the university has other programs that support research opportunities for undergraduate students who are underrepresented in STEM fields. These include the McNair Scholars Program, Research by Undergraduates Using Molecular Biology Applications (RUMBA) and S-STEM. The programs are funded through a variety of federal grants and many students who have participated have gone on to complete doctoral programs.

“The two awards confirm that the research taking place on our campus is meaningful and that our students are as competitive as those at top research institutions in the nation,” Ouverney said.

Science Students Share Research on May 5

Student Research Day Flier

Student Research Day Flier

Undergraduate and graduate students from the College of Science will present findings from research they have conducted with faculty members as part of Student Research Day on May 5, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the Ground Level of Duncan Hall. Students from all disciplines in the college will display posters about their research and will be available to discuss their work with visitors.

The event is one of several planned as part of a week-long Inauguration Celebration for San Jose State University’s 30th President, Mary A. Papazian, who will be inaugurated on May 4, at 9:30 a.m. on Tower Lawn. The week’s activities also include two film screenings that relate to our president’s strong cultural heritage but also tie into San Jose State University’s legacy of social justice in times of turmoil. “They Shall Not Perish: The Story of Near East Relief” will be shown on April 30, at 3 p.m., in the Diaz-Compean Student Union Theater. “The Promise,” starring Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale, will be shown on May 2, at 7:30 p.m., at Century Oakridge 20, in San Jose.

In addition to the screenings, activities will include a guest lecture, musical concerts, poetry readings and the Innovation to Inspiration Gala. Visit the Inauguration website to see the full list of activities and events planned from April 21 through May 5.

 

December 2016 Newsletter: Emeritus and Retired Faculty Fund Two Grants in 2015-16

Assistant Professor Faustina DuCros is using an Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association's Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity grant to complete the second phase of her research on the presence and depth of Asian American and Pacific Islander characters on prime time television and streaming shows.

Assistant Professor Faustina DuCros is using an Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association’s Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity grant to complete the second phase of her research on the presence and depth of Asian American and Pacific Islander characters on prime time television and streaming shows.

By Adam Breen

What started in 2014 as a one-year initiative to support the scholarly, creative and artistic work of professors, the San Jose State Emeritus and Retired Faculty Association’s (ERFA) Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Grants now annually provide up to $2,500 to support faculty endeavors.

This year’s recipients are Dr. Faustina DuCros, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, and Dr. Katherine Harris, an associate professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature. The awards are intended to support research, fund travel to conferences and help professors acquire equipment related to “scholarly and creative endeavors.” The awards can also be used, as DuCros has, to hire student assistants for research help.

DuCros’ research assistants are helping with the second phase of her project that is systematically investigating the presence and depth of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) characters on prime time television and streaming shows — such as those on Netflix — during the 2015-2016 season. The project is analyzing whether the “quality, quantity and complexity of AAPI characters is comparable to that of whites and other groups,” according to the project’s abstract.

Having to analyze nearly 100 shows, DuCros said the research assistants’ work frees up the project’s primary investigators “to focus on more in-depth qualitative coding and analysis.”

ERFA Past President Dr. Joan Merdinger said her association sees the value in supporting faculty research because “We remember the efforts we made to keep current in our disciplines and active in our research and/or creative activities, and we wanted to help our next-generation faculty colleagues with financial awards to advance their scholarly and creative work. This is our way as an organization affiliated with the university, to both honor our organizational mission and to assist our very talented faculty.”

Harris used the grant for travel funds to conduct research this past summer on the far-reaching impacts of British literary annuals and their pirating by American publishers. She visited archives in Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York for her book project addressing unanswered questions about the “global reach and subversion of boundaries” inspired by these annuals.

Through her award-funded research at Princeton University, the New York Public Library, and elsewhere, Harris in her proposal said, “I will be able to assess the commodification of British authorship in America during a century of immense colonial expansion and a struggle to control the cultural representations of the British empire.”

Ji-Mei Chang, Ph.D., professor emerita in the Department of Special Education and 2017 president-elect of ERFA, said the 39 applications received by the ERFA Faculty Award Committee reflects “that we have diverse and vibrant scholarship and creative activities conducted among faculty across colleges.”

“Given the large number of applications submitted this year, we hope we can bring the awareness to campus communities regarding the needs of fundraising in support of the scholarship and creative activities among active faculty.”

Nominate Students for 2017 Research Competition

 SJSU Student Research Competition 2017 and University Student Research Forum

Undergraduate and graduate research students have the opportunity to present their work and compete for selection as SJSU representatives at the annual CSU Student Research Competition at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Applications are made to the appropriate college and each college submits their selections to the Office of Research. Details about the competition follow and can also be found at the following link:  http://www.sjsu.edu/research/student-research-competition/. A PDF copy of this announcement with instructions can be found at: General Description and Information for 2017 Competition.

Timeline

Each college established its own deadline for receipt of the nominations from its faculty, included below.

College of Applied Sciences and Arts (CASA) – Application packets should be submitted to the CASA Dean’s Office, MH 431, by 5 p.m., on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017.

Lucas College and Graduate School of Business – Application packets should be submitted to the Business Dean’s Office, BT 950, by 4 p.m., on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017.

Connie L. Lurie College of Education – Application packets should be submitted to the Education Dean’s Office, SH 103, by 5 p.m., on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017.

Charles W. Davidson College of Engineering – Application packets should be submitted to the Engineering Dean’s Office in care of Teresa Mercure, ENG 493, by 4 p.m., on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017.

College of Humanities and the Arts – Application packets should be submitted to the Humanities and the Arts Dean’s Office, WSQ 120, by 5 p.m., on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017.

College of Science – Application packets should be submitted to the Science Dean’s Office, SCI 127, by 4 p.m., on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017.

College of Social Sciences – Application packets should be submitted to the Social Sciences Dean’s Office, WSQ 103, by 5 p.m., on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017.

Feb. 20, 2017 – Colleges send electronic copy of completed student delegate registration form and 5-page summary for each student to gilles.muller@sjsu.edu or deliver a hard copy to the Office of Research (ADM 223B). Student teams must submit individual registration forms for each one of its members.

March 1 and 2, 2017 – Student presentation of research and subsequent selection of SJSU finalists.

March 17, 2017 – SJSU Office of Research submits SJSU finalist list to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

April 28 and April 29, 2017 – CSU Student Research Competition at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Application

The student registration form for nomination of students from each college to participate in the SJSU Student Research Competition can be found at the following link: Application Form for 2017 Competition. Attach this registration form to a written summary of the research. The rules governing the written summary are as follows:

–  The summary must include the names(s) of the student(s) and the title of the presentation.

–  The narrative may not exceed five double-spaced pages.  Use fonts and margins that ensure legibility.

–  Appendices (bibliography, graphs, photographs, or other supplementary materials) may not exceed three pages.

–  Research that has human or animal subjects involvement must have appropriate institutional review.

Each college may send forward a total of FOUR student projects (undergraduate and/or graduate) representing outstanding research or creative activity. Students eligible to compete at SJSU and at the CSU-wide competition at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, are undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled or those who graduated in May 2016, August 2016 or December 2016. The research presented should be appropriate to the student’s discipline and career goals. Proprietary research is excluded.

Divisions of Competition

Divisions of competition have been defined by CSU-wide procedures and the CSU-defined divisions are indicated below:

Group A                                                                    Group B                                                                

Behavioral and Social Sciences                                  Biological and Agricultural Sciences

Business, Economics, and Public Administration         Engineering and Computer Science

Creative Arts and Design*                                           Health, Nutrition, and Clinical Sciences

Education                                                                 Physical and Mathematical Sciences

Humanities and Letters

Interdisciplinary Majors

*Creative projects are welcome, see SJSU Oral Presentation section for more information.

SJSU Oral Presentation

Student research will be presented on March 1 and 2, 2017, from 1:30 to 6 p.m. (or as the number of eligible participants dictate) in IRC 101. This event is not open to the public. See the Open House Celebration section for the event open to the campus constituency. Students in Group B will make their presentations on March 1; those in Group A will present on March 2. Each student or multi-student group will have 10 minutes to present her or his research orally and five minutes to listen and respond to juror and audience questions. Students are encouraged to use delivery techniques that promote interaction with the audience. All entrants may use audio visual materials as appropriate. An entrant in the Creative Arts and Design category may present an audio and/or visual record of a performance s/he has given or a work s/he created; the oral presentation should focus on the rationale and historical context underlying the student’s interpretation of the material. Successful students in previous years often have been those who practiced with their advisors or other faculty and students. It is expected that students will not make oral presentations by simply reading directly from their research summaries.

Research Summary and Oral Presentation Evaluation Criteria

The University Graduate Studies & Research Committee will evaluate the research summary and the oral presentation to identify finalists for the CSU-wide competition using the same evaluation criteria that will be used in the CSU-wide competition. The evaluation criteria are as follows:

– Clarity of purpose

– Appropriateness of methodology

– Interpretation of results

– Value of the research or creative activity

– Ability of presenter to articulate the research or creative activity

– Organization of the material presented

– Presenter’s ability to handle questions from the jury and general audience.

After the event, Associate Dean Gilles Muller in the Office of Research can provide feedback to each student (or each group) on her/his presentation if requested.

Open House Celebration

The 38th SJSU Annual University Research Forum sponsored by the SJSU Research Foundation and the Office of Research will be held on WednesdayApril 5, 2017in Engineering 285/287. Refreshments will be served. The Forum will be a celebration for students who have been selected to represent San José State University at the 31st Annual CSU Student Research Competition. At this event, SJSU finalists will receive a small monetary award that can be used to defray students’ basic travel expenses to the CSU statewide competition. Finalists in a multi-student research group have the one monetary award amount split equally between all group members. The Forum will also recognize the faculty mentors of selected students by the presentation of Distinguished Faculty Mentor awards. At the Forum, finalists will be available to discuss their research at a poster session; family and friends are invited to attend.

CSU Statewide Competition

The 31st Annual CSU Student Research Competition will be held April 28 and 29, 2017, at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. The competition is held to promote excellence in undergraduate and graduate scholarly research and creative activity by recognizing outstanding student accomplishments throughout the twenty-three campuses of the California State University. Evaluation criteria to be used is the same as the evaluation criteria shown above except the jurors will be comprised of experts from corporations, foundations, public agencies, and colleges and universities in California. There will be separate undergraduate and graduate divisions for each category (listed in Divisions of Competition section) unless a division has four or fewer entrants, in which case undergraduate and graduate divisions may be combined. The California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, steering committee reserves the right to combine or subdivide the categories or to move an entrant from one category to another, as numbers of submissions necessitate. Based on the recommendations of the jurors, cash awards will be provided to the outstanding presenter and the runner-up in both the undergraduate and graduate divisions of each category. If the undergraduate and graduate divisions of a category have been combined because there are fewer than four presenters in one division, awards will be provided to the outstanding presenter and the runner-up without regard to class standing. In the event there are five or fewer presenters in a session, only the outstanding presenter will receive an award.

If you have questions about the SJSU Student Research Competition, please contact the Office of Research in care of Gilles Muller at 408-924-2632 or gilles.muller@sjsu.edu. For any matters related to the Forum, please contact the SJSU Research Foundation in care of Brenda Swann at 408-924-1414 or brenda.swann@sjsu.edu.

May 2016 Newsletter: Social Science Students Address Critical Issues

This year, the College of Social Sciences established a Graduate Student Colloquia to share research, scholarship and creative activity (RSCA) accomplishments. The April event focused on “Environmental Factors and their Impact on American Communities.”

“In the College of Social Sciences, we value research that addresses critical issues facing 21st century society and beyond,” Dean Walt Jacobs said. “Our graduate students are the next generation to lead this effort, so we wanted to highlight their initial investigations. After our first graduate student research colloquium, a student approached CoSS Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Director Ruma Chopra to express her enjoyment of the event and to volunteer for next year’s colloquium, so we will definitely continue.”

The research projects undertaken by students and their faculty mentors investigated vulnerable populations in the community. Matthew Gloria-Dalton, a communications studies student, reviewed portrayals of mental illness in mass media. Christal West, a Mexican American studies student, explored the role of ethnic studies in informing trauma intervention for youth of color. Ida Wilson, an anthropology student, examined the underground economy in Oakland. Other presenters included John Linford and Joseph Holman, economics students who studied automobile collisions in California, and Ana Lucrecia Rivera, a geography and global studies student, who identified urban heat islands that can impact vulnerable residents in Santa Clara County.

The colloquia was supported by the Academic Affairs RSCA and Professional Development priority group work from 2014-16. Research opportunities are an integral high-impact practice in SJSU’s Four Pillars of Student Success student engagement pillar.