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Students to Share 'Illuminating Ideas'

Undergrad Conference to Attract 1,500 SoCal Scholars

Nov. 17, 2014

conference logo

Recent grad Leonard Mandap created this logo for the 22nd annual Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research. Mandap, who earned a B.F.A. in art-graphic design in May, created a modern logo design to exemplify the different disciplines represented. "The light bulb in this design is what SCCUR represents: People putting their energy towards an 'illuminating idea' that can possibly change the world."

Art-graphic design major Ashley Adams is delving into what makes a powerful and visually appealing logo. Biochemistry student Julianne Truong is studying ways to synthesize new compounds to stop West Nile virus infections. And Gregory Weisberg, pursuing a double major in geography and earth science, is examining how to critically identify seasons to provide insight into regional climate trends.

These Cal State Fullerton undergraduates are working alongside their faculty mentors to go beyond what they have learned in the classroom by conducting independent studies on real-world issues and challenges.

To share their knowledge and respective research and creative activities, they will be among students participating in the 22nd annual Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research (SCCUR) on Saturday, Nov. 22, hosted for the first time by Cal State Fullerton.

"We are tremendously honored to be hosting the Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research. But we at Cal State Fullerton are more than just a proud and grateful partner to SCCUR; we also believe we are the right partner," noted President Mildred García.

"Undergraduate research is an enterprise of highest importance and occupies a pivotal place in the heart of Cal State Fullerton's mission to combine the best qualities of teaching and research universities, where actively engaged students, faculty and staff work in close collaboration to expand knowledge," she added.

This year's conference, themed "Illuminating Ideas," is expected to be the largest in the organization's history, with an estimated 1,500 students, their faculty mentors and guests — including 300 CSUF student presenters — from more than 100 colleges and universities across the region, said Scott Annin, professor of mathematics.

Annin is conference co-director with Binod Tiwari, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, where both are involved in mentoring undergraduates on research projects in their respective fields. Tiwari is presently serving on the SCCUR board of directors, and Annin is a past board member who served for 10 years.

More than 750 student research projects from across all disciplines, including the arts, sciences, math, education, engineering, business, humanities and sports medicine, will be presented in 15-minute oral presentations chaired by faculty moderators or in poster presentations.

José L. Cruz, CSUF provost and vice president for academic affairs, will give opening remarks at 11 a.m. in the Titan Student Union's Portola Pavilion, followed by a keynote address by Bill Cunliffe, CSUF professor of music, jazz pianist, composer and Grammy Award-winning arranger. Cunliffe will present "What Jazz Can Teach Us About Working Together," featuring student musicians.

The conference is an important venue for students to not only share their research and creative passions, but also gives them the opportunity to hone their presentation and communications skills for national conferences, as well as enhance their readiness for graduate school and the workforce, organizers said.

"Students who engage in undergraduate research are at a competitive advantage," said Annin. "Dr. Tiwari and I have each seen firsthand the impact that these projects have on the lives of the student participants, as well as their ability to impact the world through 'illuminating ideas' that are discovered and conveyed."

Truong, like her peers, is looking forward to presenting her work in hopes of creating more awareness about the deadly West Nile virus, which has been spreading in the United States, including locally in Orange County.

"I want to show how my research can someday help many people," said Truong, who since June 2013 has worked in the lab of Nicholas Salzameda, CSUF assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Fellow biochemistry student and research co-author Catherine Nguyen also is presenting with Truong at the conference.

Media Contacts:

Scott Annin, Mathematics, 
Binod Tiwari, Civil Engineering
Debra Cano Ramos


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