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26 Students Win First Place in Creative Activities and Research Competition

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Studying the impacts of climate change on desert tortoises. Smart-home technologies for the formerly homeless. Helping parents cope with their child’s acute lymphocytic leukemia steroid chemotherapy.

These are some of the topics of winning student presentations in Cal State Fullerton’s Student Creative Activities and Research Day competition.

The spring event showcased 51 poster presentations, featuring individual and team presenters from across disciplines. Of these posters, 39 were led by undergraduate student presenters and 12 by graduate student presenters.

Archana McEligot directs CSUF’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Center.

It was the first time the competition was held in person since the 2020 pandemic. More than 130 students and faculty members attended the conference-style format, held during the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects’ 2023 Research Week.

“Student Creative Activities and Research Day is a unique experience for undergraduate and graduate students to be part of the larger scientific and creative community,” said Archana McEligot, professor of public health and director of CSUF’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Center. “Student participation in research is a transformative experience and has far-reaching beneficial impacts for academic and professional development.” 

Individual and team presenters from all eight colleges were awarded first-place awards, with multiple ties in two colleges.  

First-place winners, all undergraduates unless otherwise noted, their majors, poster presentation titles and faculty mentors, are:

College of the Arts

Hunter Ivanjack, Jasmine Young-Lynch, Shima Roohani and Kimberly Ruiz, art, “Bonding Over Boards.” Faculty mentor: Mary Anna Pomonis, assistant professor of art

College of Business and Economics

Ryan Akhlaghi, business administration, “The Mindset to Master ADHD: Exploring the Effect of Metacognitive Reflection Interventions on ADHD and ADHD Symptoms.” Faculty mentor: Phoenix Van Wagoner, assistant professor of management

College of Communications

Nandini Bhakta, communicative disorders, “Promoting Cultural Humility and Research Interest in Undergraduate Students Through Community Outreach Activities.” Faculty mentor: Ying-Chiao Tsao, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders

Computer science students Stephanie Pocci, from left, Alejandro Ramos and Katherine Chen are members of the award-winning team “OpenDoors.”

College of Engineering and Computer Science

Eugene Pettiford, electrical engineering, “Smart-Home Technologies in Permanent Supportive Housing for the Formerly Homeless.” Faculty mentor: Kiran George, professor of computer engineering

Anthony Massis, mechanical engineering, “Wall Modeled Large Eddy Simulation for Automotive Aerodynamics.” Faculty mentor: Salvador Mayoral, associate professor of mechanical engineering

Katherine Chen, Nolan Delligata, Alejandro Ramos, Stephanie Pocci and Ceasar Gutierrez, computer science, “OpenDoors.” Faculty mentors: Jin Woo Lee, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and Paul Salvador Inventado, assistant professor of computer science

College of Education

Ainaria Johnson, special education graduate student, “What Would They Want to Say If They Could? Using Aided Language Input to Increase the Expressive Communication of a Pre-Symbolic Preschool Child With Down Syndrome.” Faculty mentor: Janice Myck-Wayne, professor of special education 

College of Health and Human Development

Rosie Guillen, public health graduate student, “’Roid: Helping Parents Cope Through Their Child’s ALL (acute lymphocytic leukemia) Steroid Chemotherapy.” Faculty mentor: Jasmeet Gill, associate professor of public health

College of Humanities and Social Science

Zahra Tahmasebi, psychology graduate student, “Moral Wrongness of Accidental Harm.” Faculty mentor: Jessie Peissig, chair and professor of psychology

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Daisy Tarin and Jade Omandam, biological science, “Heterologous Expression of a MopA-like Manganese Oxidizing Protein From Roseobacter sp. Azwk-3b.” Faculty mentor: Hope Johnson, professor of biological science

Samantha Hubbard, biological science, “Investigating Species Interactions With Desert Tortoise Burrows at Boyd Deep Canyon UC Reserve.” Faculty mentor: William “Bill” Hoese, professor of biological science

Abigail Anastasi, biochemistry, “Understanding the Role of Phosphorylation in the Unstructured Regions of Polypyrimidine Tract Binding Protein 2.” Faculty mentor: Niroshika Keppetipola, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry

Fernando Bustos, Carolynn Cao, Michael Filice, Cedar Hofstetter, Olga Luna Flores and Chris Quinonez, mathematics, “The Teaching Equity-Minded and Active Mathematics Tool (The TEAM Tool).” Faculty mentor: Alison Marzocchi, associate professor of mathematics

Debra Cano Ramos