Undergraduate Research

Opportunities Center

N e w s l e t t e r | J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 2 2

Welcome Back!!

From the Desk of Buck
Buck in Costa Rica

What a fantastic end to the summer! Over the summer, 110+ students participated in undergraduate research and scholarship across 12 different disciplines, and presented their work at the 9th Annual Summer Research Symposium. To date, this symposium continues to be the largest regional summer research program celebrating research and scholarship of undergraduate students. This year’s program represented 14 different grant-funded programs, including our friends and partners at the Monterey Bay Regional Ocean Science Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. This work could not be done without the support and commitment of the 50+ research mentors with whom our students had the opportunity to work. To them, we say thank you! 

So welcome back, Otters! We wish you all a fantastic fall semester and look forward to seeing you around campus! 

Go Otters!

John “Buck” Banks, Ph.D.

UROC Director

• • •

2022 Summer Research Symposium

Summer symposium student winners

New to this year’s Summer Research Symposium was the introduction of Outstanding Research Poster Awards. All student research poster presenters were evaluated on six different categories, including organization/appearance and professionalism. Congratulations to the following 10 students on being awarded Outstanding Research Poster Awards: 

  • Sonia Kortenkamp, Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy
  • Faculty Mentor: Andria Greene, CSUMB
  • Katherine Martinez, Biology
  • Faculty Mentor: John Dzimianski, UCSC and Jennifer Kato, CSUMB
  • Kiara Gable, Agricultural Plant and Soil Science
  • Faculty Mentor: Jose Pablo Dundore-Arias, CSUMB
  • Pepper St. Clair and Sage Chavez, Biology
  • Faculty Mentor: Gerardo Cortes-Cortes, UCSC and Simon Titen, CSUMB
  • Zachary Zirbel, Marine Science
  • Faculty Mentor: Jaycee Lanza, Moss Landing Marine Labs
  • Axel Castellanos-Morales, Computer Science
  • Faculty Mentor: Steven Kim, CSUMB
  • Nick Alessandro, Psychology
  • Faculty Mentor: Zurine De Miguel, CSUMB
  • Juan Vargas, Biology
  • Faculty Mentor: Daniel Hasewaga, USDA
  • Katie Herrmann, Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy
  • Faculty Mentor: Gerick Bergsma, CSUMB
  • Valeria Rodriguez, Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy
  • Faculty Mentor: Andria Greene, CSUMB

Thank you to our inaugural group of judges from around the Monterey Peninsula, including CSUMB, for volunteering their time to support student research: 

  • Judith Canner, Professor, CSU Monterey Bay
  • Kathleen Godfrey, Associate Dean, CSU Monterey Bay
  • Arun Jani, Assistant Professor, CSU Monterey Bay
  • Rob Drezner, Professor, Monterey Peninsula College
  • Amelia Olson, Biologist / Permitting Analyst, Padre Associates Inc.
  • Manny Ezcurra, Curator of Fish and Invertebrates, Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Sam Robinson, Associate Professor, CSU Monterey Bay
  • Sara Rubin, Editor, Monterey County Weekly
  • Bruce Delgado, Mayor, Botanist, City of Marina and Fort Ord National Monument
  • Nanda Warren, Lecturer, Writing Coordinator, CSU Monterey Bay

Hope to see you next summer!

*image of Katherina Martinez, Nick Alessandro, Kiara Gable, Sonia Kortenkamp, and Valeria Rodriguez

• • •

Welcome to the Team!

Rogers Walker surfing

Please join us in welcoming Rogers Walker, Ed.D., to UROC as the Associate Director of Educational Research. He will be involved with evaluating grant programs and conducting research on UROC programs and participants. Rogers is passionate about supporting access to rigorous research experiences for as many students as possible. Rogers has extensive experience in the higher education space. He previously worked as an ESL instructor and program director in postsecondary settings. His research interests include language education, academic writing, and academic learning communities. In his free time, he enjoys surfing, hiking, live music, and creative writing.

• • •

Costa Rica Research Expedition

After three years of anticipation, the 2022 CSU-LSAMP Costa Rica Research Expedition successfully took place in person! Eight LSAMP students from four different CSU campuses participated this year in a truncated version of past summer expeditions. This year, the students focused on a group research project in the small village of Mastatal (pop. 150), exploring the relative contributions of farmland, pasture, and forest fragments to arthropod biodiversity. The expedition was bookended by a few days learning about sustainable coffee production as well as the coastal environment. 

Learn more about this year’s expedition on Buck’s Notes from the field Blog.

• • •

And a Round of Applause Goes to...

Lexi and Moana high fiving

Baldock and Butler Scholarship Award

Congratulations to UROC Scholars Alexandra “Lexi” Yokomizo, Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy, and Moana Bullock, Marine Science, for being awarded the 2022 Baldock and Butler Scholarship.


The Barbara Baldock and Phillip Butler Scholarship awards one UROC Scholar $5000 to support undergraduate research and graduate school application endeavors. The award is based on academic achievement, undergraduate research interests, financial need, graduate school aspirations, and a commitment to serve the community through research, outreach, and service.


Thank you Dr. Butler and Ms. Baldock for your continued support of undergraduate researchers

CSU Pre-Doctoral Sally Casanova Award

We are proud to announce that UROC Scholars Nikole Babcock, Psychology (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Shannon Snapp) and Spencer Winter, Human Development and Family Science (Faculty Mentors: Drs. Zurine De Miguel and Rob Weisskirch), have been named as 2022-2023 Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholars. Babcock and Winter will each receive an award of $3,000 to support graduate school and professional development activities for the upcoming 2023-23 year. 

UROC McNair Scholar Kimberly Smith (Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Lovell) was recognized in the honorable mention category.

The CSU PreDoctoral program is designed to increase the pool of potential faculty by supporting the doctoral aspirations of California State University students. The program places a special emphasis on increasing the number of CSU students who enter doctoral programs at one of the University of California institutions. For the 2022-23 year, 78 scholars, both undergraduate and graduate students, were selected from 16 CSU campuses.

Interested in learning more about this scholarship? Pop into an information session this fall; check out MyRaft to sign up. The 2022-23 scholarship application cycle will open in December 2022.​

Nikole Karis with daughter holding sign

Nikole Babcock

Spencer Winter holding sign

Spencer Winter

Kimmy Smith standing on blocks

Kimberly Smith

Danielle Anderson holding research award

Outstanding Research Award

Congratulations to UROC Scholar Danielle Anderson for taking home the top prize of Outstanding Research at the Florida Atlantic University Marine REU this summer! Danielle’s research centered on hammerhead swimming kinematics where she studies the biomechanics of straight swimming and turns in adult hammerheads and compared situations in which prey were present with situations in which prey were not present. Congratulations, Danielle!

• • •

Celebrating Writing

Congratulations to the following newly published UROC alumni and their research faculty!

Eva Bernal Campos, UROC Researcher, Xochitl Saldana, Koret Scholar, and Dr. Shannon Snapp, Associate Professor of Psychology. “‘This is Real, This is the Way that Things are’: Hooking up as a Pathway for Sexual Identity Development Among SGM Emerging Adults”. Emerging Adulthood.

Conor Rickard, UROC Scholar, Julio Hernandez-Vasquez, LSAMP Rising Researcher, Dr. Steven Kim, Associate Professor of Statistics, and Dr. Dan Fernandez, Professor of Applied Environmental Science. “Early Night Fog Prediction Using Liquid Water Content Measurement in the Monterey Bay Area”. Atmosphere.

• • •

Mark your Calendar!

decorative post for fall competition

UROC is excited to host the 8th Annual Fall Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, & Creative Activity Competition on Thursday, November 3, 2:30 - 6:00 p.m. at the Alumni & Visitor Center! 


Applications for the Fall Research Competition are now open! Due: September 15th at 3pm. Students with research projects in any discipline are encouraged to submit their abstract for consideration. A maximum of 10 students will be selected to present at this event. Winning presenters will be encouraged to apply for the statewide CSU Student Research Competition which will be hosted by San Diego State University in the spring of 2023.


We hope to see you there!

• • •


All UROC events and workshops will be available on MyRaft.  While most of our fall offerings will be virtual, several workshops and events will be in-person for the fall. Be sure to register in advance if you’re interested in joining us for any of them.

Fellowship Friday (and Scholarships, too!): Barry Goldwater Scholarship

September 9, 2- 3pm

HSI Week: Demystifying Research

Sept 13, 2-3pm

HSI Week: Navigating Opportunities as an Undergraduate

Sept 14, 12-1pm

Fellowship Friday (and Scholarships, too!): Barry Goldwater Scholarship

Sept 16, 11am-12pm

Sally Casanova Pre-Doc Info Session

Sept 23, 3-4pm

Sally Casanova Pre-Doc Info Session

Nov 9, 3-4pm

CSU Research Competition Info Session

Dec 6, 3-4pm

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