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Outstanding Student Researchers Recognized

Inaugural Award for Projects Bestowed at Research Week Event

March 21, 2013

Fifteen Cal State Fullerton undergraduates and graduate-level students conducting research, scholarly and creative activities have been recognized with Research Week’s inaugural "Outstanding Student Scholarship and Creative Activities Award."
A total of 59 students — 22 undergraduate and 37 graduate — from CSUF’s eight colleges, representing 33 departments, were nominated by their faculty mentors for the award, presented during a March 20 ceremony at the Pollak Library. An undergraduate and a graduate-level student were selected for the first-place award for each college. Of the finalists, 11 additional students also were given honorary mentions.
“This award was created to motivate and inspire students to get involved in research or creative activities during their educational experience at Cal State Fullerton,” said Binod Tiwari, acting chair and associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, who is a member of the Research Week committee that oversaw the award competition.
“You are the inaugural ‘Students of the Year,’ and each of you should be proud,” Tiwari said as the winners were presented with certificates of recognition.

Award recipients, listed by college and major, are:
College of the Arts: Jonathan Castanien, theatre arts, undergraduate
College of Communications: Rachel Finigan, communicative disorders, graduate student; and Althea Wagoner, communications-journalism, undergraduate
College of Engineering and Computer Science: Santiago Caballero, civil engineering, graduate student; Alex Lemmon, civil engineering, undergraduate
College of Education: Yvonne Garcia, education-higher education, graduate student
College of Health and Human Development: Jordan Aquino, public health, graduate student; Wan-Hsuan Lin, child and adolescent development, undergraduate
College of Humanities and Social Sciences: Jessie Bonafede, English, graduate student; Mariann Howland and Harry Meussner, both psychology undergraduates (tie)
Mihaylo College of Business and Economics: Tiana Baldwin, economics, graduate student; Christian Alvarez, business administration, undergraduate
College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Michelle Gevedon, geology, graduate student; Lauren Dorough, biological science, undergraduate
Before the awards presentation, keynote speaker Dawn Person, professor of educational leadership, along with a panel of faculty, staff and students, spoke about how students can become involved in research and scholarly activities within their disciplines. They stressed the importance of students initiating interaction and networking with faculty members to open doors for research opportunities.
On campus, close to 50 programs for student research or engagement activities are offered, with at least 16 of these programs funded through external grants, noted Dorota Huizinga, associate vice president for graduate programs and research.
Person, director of the College of Education’s Center for Research on Educational Access and Leadership (C-REAL), gave students in the audience tips and advice about getting “plugged in” to research opportunities, which fosters academic and professional achievement. Person cited a study she conducted that found that students who develop meaningful relationships with faculty members and participate in research activities are more likely to pursue graduate studies and careers in their chosen field of study.
“By getting involved in research and creative activities, students get a holistic college experience that helps them to develop personal skills, academic skills and professional skills that will help them be more competitive at the graduate level and more successful in their careers,” Person said.

For a complete schedule of Research Week 2013 activities, which continue through Friday, March 22, visit the website. The weeklong event is sponsored by CSUF’s Office of the Associate Vice President for Graduate Programs and Research with support from the academic colleges and administrative divisions.

By: Debra Cano Ramos, 657-278-4027

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