SJSU Scores Top Prizes At CSU Research Competition

Darci Arnold, a graduate student, standing next to a presenter and holding her first place award

Darci Arnold receives the first place award in the interdisciplinary category from Fresno State's Vivian Vidoli at the CSU Research Competition in Fresno.

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

Five Spartans competed in the 25th Annual California State University Student Research Competition May 6-7, including graduates Darci Arnold and Stacy Schwartz, who took first and second place, respectively, in their categories.

Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research David Bruck said this competition fosters student participation and the chance for hands-on work specific to his or her discipline.

“These are all dedicated students who have the work ethic and who recognize this opportunity as an important step to move forward,” Bruck said.

Approximately 225 CSU undergraduate and graduate students at 21 of the 23 CSU campuses competed at Fresno State University. Each campus had the opportunity to send 10 students.

Darci Arnold, who is pursuing a master’s degree  in interdisciplinary studies, took home first place in the interdisciplinary category for “PLANET Building: A Case Study of Corporate Sustainability for a Globalized World.” Her research highlighted the competitive and shareholder advantages for firms using sustainability initiatives. Arnold’s overall passion for interdisciplinary studies and 20 years of corporate experience is what made her project meaningful. Professor William J. Reckmeyer served as Arnold’s faculty mentor.

“It’s really important in this complex and interconnected world to find something that brings people together,” said Arnold. “Bringing together thoughts, people, solutions and problems are all important skill sets to have.”

Stacy Schwartz won second place in the humanities and letters graduate category for her presentation, “A Sign of the Times: Contemporary Post-Holocaust Art and Jewish Identity.” Schwartz’s research explores how “post-Holocaust imagery in contemporary Jewish-American art expresses the evolving relationship between younger Jewish generations and the legacy of the Holocaust.”

“Being in the competition gave me a boost of confidence that I’ve never had about my work before,” Schwartz said.

Faculty mentor Assistant Professor Beverly Grindstaff joined Schwartz and her parents at the competition.

“We are very proud of Ms. Schwartz’ accomplishment and of her ongoing commitment to excellence in all her scholarly endeavors,” Grindstaff said.

Other students who represented SJSU at the CSU Research Competition include the following:

Marilyn Baker-Venturini
Faculty Mentor: Professor Kathryn Sucher
Nutrition Status as a Risk Factor for Falls Among Older Adults”
Baker-Venturini will be graduating this month with a master’s in nutrition with an emphasis in geriatric nutrition. She said there is a huge gap in research about the relationship between nutrition status and falls among community-dwelling older adults. She has been hired as the director of Meals on Wheels for San Mateo County and starts in August.

Jessica Eastburn
Faculty Mentor: Professor Gale Antokal


“Brain Drain – Thesis Exhibition”
Eastburn graduated with an MFA in Pictorial Art in August 2010. She said that she enjoyed the freedom to expand and be creative with her project. Her most important advice? To be engaged with your topic because the passion will show through your effort.

Yelena Severina
Faculty Mentor: Professor Robert Cullen

“The Russian Émigré in America: Translating and Transcending Exile in Vladimir Nabokov’s Pnin and Pale Fire”
Severina graduated with a master’s in English in August 2010. Severina said the easiest part of her project was finding the literature and the hardest was narrowing down the selection and coming up with a unique way to talk about a very popular subject. Severina will begin a doctoral program in Slavic Studies at UCLA this fall.