Undergraduate Research

Opportunities Center

N e w s l e t t e r | MARCH/APRIL 2023

From the Desk of Buck
Buck presenting

Earlier this month, I attended the Entomological Society of America Pacific Branch Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington. Part of the conference includes an opportunity for students to present their research and win valuable prizes, by way of ten-minute oral presentations or a research poster presentation. Seeing these sorts of opportunities for students to present their research made me all the more eager to return to CSUMB for the start of National Undergraduate Research Week where I knew that, in addition to our week-long activities, the Tanimura & Antle Family Memorial Library would once again be brimming with posters highlighting student research and creative activities for our culminating event, the Spring Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Showcase. In total, over 80 researchers presented over 45 posters and 20 oral presentations representing the College of Science, College of Business, College of Health and Human Services, and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. For many students, it was their first time presenting research in a public forum! Thank you to all the faculty research mentors for their dedication and commitment throughout this process!

We have a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks before the semester ends.

  • 10 CSUMB students, both graduate and undergraduate, have been selected as delegates to compete at the 37th Annual system-wide CSU Student Research Competition at San Diego State University – the first in-person competition since 2019. Best of luck to all our Delegates!  
  • The following week, several UROC staff l will travel to CSU Northridge to showcase the newly funded UROC Apple Scholars Program and to meet with the 17 other grant recipients awarded in the first round of CSU HSI Community Grants through Global Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Equity Innovation Hub (EIH). The Apple Scholars cohort at CSUMB receive faculty mentorship and conduct funded research as well as participate in robust e-portfolio professional development training designed to boost STEM identity. 
  • And finally, we invite you to the Annual UROC Year End Celebration (YEC) on Tuesday, May 9th, from 5-7pm at the University Center Ballroom (Building 29). Doors open at 4:30 p.m. All graduating seniors in attendance will receive a UROC stole in recognition of their research accomplishments, and select student speakers will share their undergraduate research experiences. We will also award the UROC Mentor of the Year! We hope you can join us.

John “Buck” Banks, Ph.D.

UROC Director

**Image of Buck speaking at the Fall Research Competition

• • •

How did you spend your spring break 2023?

Ronald E. McNair Scholars Efrain Ramirez, Jhoana Morales-Lopez, Yeritzi Victoria, Damaris Ispache, Oscar Murillo-Espinoza, Maria Fernanda Corral Cervantes, and Jasmin Juarez-Gonzalez plus UROC staff visited Arizona State University and the University of Arizona with the goal to explore  research-intensive graduate programs, talk with faculty and graduate studies staff, as well as connect with CSUMB alums,  McNair Scholar Jesus Orozco (class of 2022) pursuing a doctorate in Justice Studies and Dr. Michael Bogan, Professor at the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona (class of 2001).

The trip was sponsored by the Ronald E. McNair, Department of Education grant that supports graduate school visits, one of the central activities to  as a  to bridge undergraduates to doctoral programs upon  graduation. 

McNair Scholars in Arizona
Taylor Trivino in New York

UROC Scholar Taylor Trivino visited the University of Delaware to explore the  Master’s in Environmental Science and Management. It was Taylor’s visit to  Delaware and though her campus experience was positive, Taylor learned that she is more of a “West Coast girlie”. Taylor also made a little stop in the Big Apple to enjoy the city life for a day!

UROC Researcher Paige Siegel visited East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina  to learn more about the Coastal Marine Ecology Lab where Dr Rachel Gittman conducts living shoreline research. Paige was so impressed with the program and campus that she will be pursuing her graduate studies and a research along the East Coast starting fall 2023!

Paige Siegel
• • •

Time to Compete!

The Annual CSU Student Research Competition

The California State University Student Research Competition (CSU SRC) is held each spring to promote excellence in undergraduate (UG) and graduate (G) scholarly research and creative activity by recognizing outstanding student accomplishments across the 23 CSU campuses. The 37th annual competition was hosted at San Diego State University, April 28-29, 2023, the first in person competition since 2019. This year’s competition boasted 250 student presenters over 2 days across 24 sessions, with only 1st and 2nd place awards selected. *CSUMB winners include 3 undergraduates– CSUMB 2022 fall competition first place winner, 2 Ronald E. McNair Scholars, and a graduate student, also finalist in the 2023 CSUMB Grad Slam.

Congratulations to the following undergraduate and graduate delegates who were selected by the CSUMB Committee on Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (RSCA) to represent CSUMB at the competition! Winners are also listed.

Angelica May Amita -

Business Administration (UG)

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

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jenny Lin

Competition Category: Business, Economics, and Hospitality Management

Angelica May Amita
Savannah Saldana

Savannah Saldana -

Applied Environmental Science (G)

Effects of Arundo donax removal on aerial invertebrates along the Salinas River, Monterey

Faculty Mentor: Dr. John Olson

Competition Category: Biological and Agricultural Sciences


Isaak Haberman - Marine Science (G)

Disparities in drivers of subtidal and intertidal sea urchin reproductive capacity

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alison Haupt

Competition Category: Biological and Agricultural Sciences

Isaak Haberman
Paige Siegel

Paige Siegel - Marine Science/Statistics (UG)

Mapping the Stars: Understanding the Spatial Variability of Sea Stars along the Monterey Peninsula

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alison Haupt

Competition Category: Biological and Agricultural Sciences


Pepper St. Clair - Biology (UG)

Analysis of Antibiotic Pressure on Conjugation Efficiency of Antimicrobial Resistance Genes in E.coli

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Simon Titen

Competition Category: Biological and Agricultural Sciences

Pepper St. Clair
Devon McCauley

Devon McCauley - Social and Behavioral Sciences, Social History (UG)

Adoption as Ongoing Settler Colonialism: A Genealogy of Severance and Domination

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kelly Medina-López

Competition Category: Behavioral, Social Sciences, and Public Administration


Rosa Acevedo Duran & Kimberly Smith - ​​Psychology/Social Justice and Community Leadership (UG)

Understanding Youth Mental Health Needs Through Participatory Action Research

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Lovell

Competition Category: Behavioral, Social Sciences, and Public Administration

Biological and Agricultural Science
Kiki Iden

Vasiliki (Kiki) Iden - Mathematics (UG)

Modeling the Majority: Bridging Purpose with Practicality

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Alana Unfried

Competition Category: Education

Alexandra Yokomizo - Environmental Sciences (UG)

Revealing how wildfires can affect river sediments and chemistry during droughts and after precipitation

Faculty Mentor: Dr. John Olson

Competition Category: Biological and Agricultural Science

Lexi Yokomizo

Mikaela Kirkpatrick and Jherrica Phillips - Kinesiology, Exercise Science (UG)

Effect of Extended Run Time on Load-Voltage Relationship in S-Type Load Cells

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Eric Martin

Competition Category: Health, Nutrition and Clinical Sciences

• • •
A Round of Applause Goes to....

Congratulations to UROC Scholars Spencer Winter, double-majoring in a human development and family science and biology and Taylor Trivino, marine science, on being awarded the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP)! UROC Researcher Alum, Christina Monsserat Magana-Ramirez (class of 2021), was also awarded the NSF GRFP! Christina is currently attending the University of California, Irvine working towards her Ph.D. in Statistics. Notably, UROC Researcher Alum, Amalia Seigel, marine science (class of 2021) received a NSF GRFP Honorable Mention.

The Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is a National Science Foundation-wide program that provides Fellowships to individuals selected early in their graduate careers based on their demonstrated potential for significant research achievements in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) or in STEM education. The NSF fellowship is three years of financial support, a $37,000 stipend and $12,000 cost of education allowance to the graduate degree-granting institution to support the Fellow in a fellowship year.

Spencer Winter

Spencer Winter

UROC Scholar

Human Development and Family Science & Biology

Taylor Trivino

Taylor Trivino

UROC Scholar

Marine Science

Christina Monsserat Magana-Ramirez

Christina Monsserat Magana-Ramirez

UROC Researcher


Ingrid Martinson

Congratulations to UROC Scholar Ingrid Martinson, marine science, on being awarded the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship! Notably, Ingrid  was one of 6 students from the CSU system named a Barry 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, 1267 natural science, engineering and mathematics students were nominated by 427 academic institutions to compete for the 2023 Goldwater scholarships. 9 CSUMB students have received the Goldwater Scholarship since 2016! Congratulations!

Grace Quinowski

Congratulations to UROC Researcher, Grace Quinowski, psychology, whose research poster received an Honorable Mention at the Society for Personality Assessment Convention! Her research poster ranked 2nd out of 21 posters submitted for Best Poster Award Consideration.

Cody Leporini

Congratulations to UROC Researcher Cody Leporini, mathematics, who received 1st Place Award in the 2023 Conference on Statistical Practice Student Poster Competition.

Nikole Babcock

UROC Scholar Nikole Babcock, psychology, received an honorable mention for the highly competitive Ford Foundation Predoctoral Research Fellowship with the encouragement to reapply once she had been admitted to a graduate program. This is extremely impressive as they only funded 4.5% of applicants.

UROC Koret Scholar Sofia Christofi, psychology, won a $400 Psi Chi poster presentation award at the 103rd Western Psychological Association (WPA) Convention in Riverside, CA.

Sofia Christofi with Jen Dyer Seymour
• • •

Spring Showcase Wrap-Up

We wrapped up Undergraduate Research Week with the Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity Spring Showcase. Enjoy some pictures from the event!

Citlali Rene and Michiel

Citlali Jauregui, Rene Aguilar, and Michiel Breen prepare to present their research posters.

Research Poster presentations

Elise Vasquez explains her research in front of a curious group.

Efrain and Ingrid

Efrain Ramirez and Ingrid Romero stand proudly next to their research poster.

Sofia Christofi and her mom

Sofia Christofi's mom drove from Los Angeles to support her and her research.

Dr. Walker introduces oral presenters

Dr. Rogers Walker introduces presenters from the African Heritage Research Collaborative.

Damaris and her family

Damaris Ispache's entire family came out to support.

Research Fair Presentation

New this year was the Research Fair where faculty shared more information about their research.

Dr. Rosales with her research mentees

Dr. Christine Rosales rewards Leila Ashman, Samantha Camacho, and Stela Apostolova on their very first oral presentation.

Gabriel Morales presenting

Gabriel Morales kicks off the Spring Showcase.

• • •

Mentor of the Year 2023

Alison Haupt lab at WSN.jpg

Congratulations to Dr. Alison Haupt, Associate Professor in the Department of Marine Science on being selected as UROC Mentor of the Year 2023! Her research focuses on answering applied ecological questions that promote improved marine management and conservation by focusing on species and ecosystems confronting anthropogenic stressors such as urbanization, climate change, and fishing pressure. To address questions of applied ecology, her lab uses and applies a wide variety of tools ranging from population genetics to forensic genetics to ecological modeling to traditional field ecology.

Read more about Dr. Haupt.

*Dr. Alison Haupt with her Coastal Ecology Lab participants at the Western Society of Naturalist Conference 2022

• • •
Mark Your Calendars
2023 Year End Celebration Banner.jpg

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 9, 2023 from 5-7pm. Doors open at 4:30pm. All are welcome to please invite your family and friends to celebrate with you. We hope to see you there!

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