Undergraduate Research
Opportunities Center

N e w s l e t t e r | MARCH/APRIL 2022
Marching Into The Community
From the Desk of Buck
Buck and Liz
Over the past year or two I’ve attended numerous virtual conferences, enjoying interacting with colleagues from around the country/globe….but there was nothing better than walking into the Tanimura and Antle Family Memorial Library on the morning of April 18 and seeing research posters spread throughout the first floor to celebrate National Undergraduate Research Week 2022! Library staff were just as excited as we were remembering the days before the pandemic when the library was louder than usual because students would stop to read and share their thoughts about the research posters with one another. In total this year we had 25 posters representing the College of Science, College of Business, College of Health and Human Services, and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. 

We officially kicked off Undergraduate Research Week with a virtual introduction from Provost Kantardjieff, followed by a terrific talk by one of our UROC alums, Liz Reyes-Gallegos, who described her journey from undergraduate researcher at CSUMB to Ph.D. student at UC Davis. Throughout the week we enjoyed a combination of virtual and in-person celebrations of undergraduate research around campus, culminating in the Spring Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Showcase where we got to interact with our poster presenters and also attend 14 oral presentations that took place in the library. We had excellent attendance – so much so that next year we’ll be looking for more/larger presentation venues!

For many students, this was their first opportunity to present their research in-person, and though many were initially nervous, their anxiety quickly turned into excitement. Several walked away wondering where else they could present their research. 
Exciting times lie ahead for undergraduate research on our campus! 

John “Buck” Banks, Ph.D.
UROC Director

**Image of Liz Gallegos and John Banks at an Entomology Conference in San Diego
• • •
Where in the World are CSUMB McNair Alum?
We caught up with Selena Velasquez, Class of 2020, who is currently in her second year–and final year– at the University of Arizona.
I am enjoying my time as a Wildcat at the University of Arizona! I am coming up on 9 months living in Tucson after having spent the first year of my graduate studies back home in California and feel so fortunate to have found community in cohort peers and research teammates. Recently, I presented at AERA 2022 in San Diego on community college STEM students' sense of belonging, which is research that I was more-or-less exploring during my time at CSUMB. I am also really excited to have reconnected with Dr. Heather Haeger, who joined the College of Education at UA as the Research Director for the STEM Learning Center earlier this year. The Fall 2022 semester will be my final one at UA and I'll be dedicating it as a part-time teacher’s assistant for Project SOAR facilitating undergraduates’ service-learning experiences mentoring middle school students. Post-graduation, I am excited to return back to Monterey County and enter the world of student affairs as a newly graduated master's student!

McNair Scholars at UA
Selena (far left) hanging out with CSUMB McNair Scholars
Selena Velasquez with friends
Selena hanging out with friends in Tucson
Selena Velasquez presenting at AERA
Selena presenting at 2022 AERA Annual Conference
• • •
How did you spend your spring break?
UROC Staff Eric Barajas and Natasha Oehlman accompanied McNair Scholars Angelica May Amita, Jissel Antonio, Kimmy Smith, Rosa Acevedo Duran, Jocelyn Chavez-Diaz, and Serena Ross to Arizona State University and the University of Arizona where they got to engage with graduate programs and other McNair Scholars, including CSUMB Aluma Selena Velasquez. 

The trip was sponsored by the Ronald E. McNair grant that supports graduate school visits as part of the mission to bridge undergraduates to doctoral programs right after graduation.  
McNair Scholars at ASU
Amelia Parker
UROC Scholar and Dewar Scholar Amelia Parker visited the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, where she has committed to pursue her Ph.D. in Communication.
McNair Scholar Wendy Feng visited the University of Michigan, one of the seven universities she was accepted to for graduate school.
Wendy Feng at the University of Michigan
Maggie Seida
UROC Scholar Maggie Seida presented at the 50th Benthic Ecology Meeting in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
• • •
CSU Student Research Competition Delegates
The 36th Annual California State University Student Research Competition (CSU SRC) is held each spring to promote excellence in undergraduate and graduate scholarly research and creative activity by recognizing outstanding student accomplishments across the 23 CSU campuses. San Francisco State University will host the virtual competition April 29-30, 2022.
Congratulations to the following undergraduate and graduate delegates selected by the CSUMB Committee on Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (RSCA) to represent CSUMB at the competition!
Ellre Villanueva-Ancheta & Lauren Frey~ Master of Science Physician Assistant

The Effects of Near-Peer Mentorship on Aspiring Physician Assistant Student Confidence

Faculty Mentor: Nicole Reichhart, MSPA, PA-C

Competition Category: Education
Ellre Villanueva & Lauren Frey
nevan bell
Nevan Bell~ Psychology

Campus Policing and How to Improve Sense of Safety

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Lovell 

Competition Category: Behavioral and Social Sciences

Gagandeep Choongh~ Psychology & Business

Cultural Appreciation: A Case Study on Conducting Cross-Cultural Research

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jenny Lin

Competition Category: Behavioral and Social Sciences
Gagandeep Choogh
Spencer Winter
Spencer Winter~ Molecular Biology; Human Development

Speckled Sanddab Cell Proliferation During Adult Neurogenesis

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Zurine De Miguel (Psychology) 

Competition Category: Biological and Agricultural Sciences
Erika Hernandez- Gonzalez~ Business Administration 

Green Skepticism: Examining the Role of Social Media Influencers on Consumer Attitudes Towards Green Brands 

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jenny Lin

Competition Category: Business, Economics, and Public Administration
Erika Hernandez Gonzalez
Rachel Frese
Rachel Frese~ Kinesiology

Rock Steady Boxing Exercise Both Maintains and Improves Physical Function in People with Parkinson’s Disease 

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Maria Bellumori

Competition Category: Health, Nutrition and Clinical Sciences

• • •
A Round of Applause Goes to....
Spencer Winter and Charles Scrivner
Congratulations to UROC Scholars Charles Scrivner and Spencer Winter on being awarded the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship! Notably, Charles and Spencer were only two of five students from the CSU system named a Goldwater Scholar this year, in a very competitive field. 

Established in 1947, the Barry Goldwater scholarship is a tribute to the life and service of former US Senator, Barry Goldwater. This year, from an estimated pool of over 5,000 college sophomores and juniors, 1242 natural science, engineering and mathematics students were nominated by 433 academic institutions to compete for the 2022 Goldwater scholarships. CSUMB students have received the Goldwater Scholarship since 2016! Congratulations!

Read more about their success on the CSUMB News Page.
Congratulations to Jesus Orozco, Sally Casanova Scholar, on being selected to participate in an eight-week summer research experience as part of the CSU Pre-Doctoral Scholars Program at Stanford University. Jesus will be working with Dr. Matthew Clair, Assistant Professor of Sociology and (by courtesy) Law at Stanford University, as well as a research team, on the Court Listening Project (CLiP), a research study and archive of courthouses and the people who engage with them in the Bay Area. The project examines the ideological and material functions of courthouses and the various ways that system-impacted people envision changing the courts and the broader legal system. 
“I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to conduct research with a Dr. Clair from Stanford University and I look forward to further expanding my understanding of system-impacted people and their perspectives on the role of courts and our legal system.” 
Summer funding package includes housing near the Stanford campus for eight weeks; a food stipend; and a research stipend.

The California Pre-Doctoral Program is designed to increase the pool of potential faculty by supporting the doctoral aspirations of California State University (CSU) students who have experienced economic and educational disadvantages. The program places a special emphasis on increasing the number of CSU students who enter doctoral programs at one of the University of California (UC) institutions.
2 pictures of Kaiku holding a sign
Congratulations to McNair Scholar and Goldwater Scholar Kaiku Kaholoaa on being awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP) AND in the same week— the Ford Foundation Fellowship! This double-fellowship win marks the first time a CSUMB undergraduate has been awarded both the Ford Fellowship and an NSF GRFP in a single cycle not to mention the first Ford Fellowship award given to a CSUMB undergraduate. The NSF fellowship is three years of financial support—including an annual stipend of $34,000 and a cost of education allowance of $12,000 while the Ford Fellowship is an annual stipend of $27,000 for three years. Both fellowships are nationally recognized as highly competitive, with a typical overall success of about 3-5% for the Ford Fellowship* and 1 out of 7 applicants receiving the NSF GRFP. Kai chose the NSF GRFP and that funding will go to his doctoral institution to support Kaiku’s ongoing research and learning as he completes a Ph.D. in Bioscience at Stanford University in fall 2022. . 

Notably, CSUMB alumnae Madison Heard, UC Santa Barbara) and Victoria Assad (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa) received NSF GRFP Honorable Mentions. 

Read more on the CSUMB News Page.
• • •
Speaking of which...
Huge shoutout to UROC and B&B Scholar Madison Heard (at UC Santa Barbara) who recently helped plan, coordinate, and execute UC Santa Barbara’s First-Annual Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology Undergraduate (EEMB) Research Symposium on April 23. Over a 100 people attended this inaugural event. Madison is excited to grow the event in the years to come. CSUMB looks forward to participating next year! Way to go, Madison!
UCSB Symposium oral presentation
Oral Presentations at UCSB
Maddy Heard and her team
Madison Heard (center left) with her planning team
UCSB Sympsosium poster session
Poster presentations at UCSB
• • •
But wait...there's one more shoutout to give!
Congratulations Elya Kandahari for being awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship to pursue her doctorate in chemistry at Cornell University. The NSF fellowship, a highly competitive award at the undergraduate level, is three years of financial support, including an annual stipend of $34,000 and a cost of education allowance of $12,000. We caught up with Elya to learn more about what she’s been up to since 2019 when she was last at CSUMB participating in the Community College Apprenticeship Research Experience (CCARE), a summer research bridge-to-university experience designed exclusively for community college students.  
Elya Kandahari in the lab
Hi everyone! After leaving CCARE, I started my undergraduate career at UC Davis. For the past few years, my research has focused on the total synthesis of complex natural products. In the summer of 2021, I also participated in a summer fellowship at the California Institute of Technology where I utilized a combination of electroanalytical chemistry, spectroscopy, and organic synthesis to study the mechanisms of carbon-carbon bond forming reactions. This fall, I'll be heading to Cornell University to pursue my PhD in chemistry as an NSF Fellow. I am so excited to further explore the field of electro-organic catalysis! Participating in CCARE jump-started my academic career in so many ways that I could have never imagined. I am forever grateful for the support and mentorship I've received from UROC. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be part of CSUMB!
• • •
Celebrating Writing
Congratulations to the following newly published UROC alumni and their research faculty!

  • Gagandeep Choongh, UROC Scholar, Erika Hernandez-Gonzalez, Koret Scholar, & Dr. Jenny Lin, Associate Professor of Marketing: Get Acquainted: Learnings from Collecting Data for a Cross-Cultural Research in a Foreign Country. Research Methods Cases: Business and Management, SAGE publications Inc
  • Sarah Ricks, UROC Researcher & Dr. Jenny Lin, Associate Professor of Marketing: Who spends more on children’s education: An autonomous or an empowered mother? A study from India. Consumer Culture Theory in Asia: History and Contemporary Issues, Routledge Frontiers in the Development of International Business, Management and Marketing
  • Emma Lundvall, UROC Researcher, Dr. Angeline Nariswari, Assistant Professor of Marketing and Social Entrepreneurship, & Dr. Jenny Lin, Associate Professor of Marketing: Leveraging Group Diversity to Improve Student Learning. Journal of Financial Education
• • •
Mentor of the Year 2022
Morgan Raimondo and JP Dundore-Arias
Congratulations to Dr. JP Dundore-Arias on being selected as this year’s Mentor of the Year! Currently, he is an Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology at California State University Monterey Bay, where he leads the new Agricultural Plant and Soil Science major. His personal and professional experiences have motivated him to serve as a mentor and role model to his students. He fosters a growth mindset in which students learn to recognize that scientific knowledge and research expertise are not innate and can be developed, with the goal to increase self-confidence, sense of belonging, and science identity. Read more JP on the Mentor of the Year Page.

Morgan Raimondo and JP at the 2021 Fall Research competition.
• • •
Mark Your Calendars
Please join UROC in celebration of our graduating UROC Scholars, including our Koret and McNair Scholars, UROC Researchers, and LSAMP Rising Researchers at UROC's Annual Year End Celebration. The Year End Celebration will be held at the University Center Ballroom (bldg. 29) on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 from 5-7pm. All are welcome to please invite your family and friends to celebrate with you. We hope to see you there!
Chat with us!
Want to get involved in research but don't know where to start? Set up a virtual consultation on the UROC website!