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May 2011


The College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) is celebrating the centennial year of the founding of Fresno State. The University has evolved from modest beginnings as a teachers college into an acclaimed, culturally diverse, comprehensive university that is an integral part of the region. 


This centennial is clearly a time to reflect upon on all the changes that have occurred through the long history of the CSM. Today our faculty are conducting cutting-edge research involving undergraduate and graduate students using state-of-the-art equipment in areas ranging from atmospheric pollution to breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease. We house centers of excellence in autism, climate change, forensic science, and biotechnology. Our students are provided with the hands-on education, critical thinking skills and research background necessary to compete in this rapidly changing technology-rich society.


We invite you to join us on Friday May 13th from 4-7 pm when the CSM is hosting an open house to celebrate the centennial year with tours of our facilities and research laboratories, opportunities to meet our faculty and their research students, visit our Planetarium, and catch up with old friends and colleagues. The CSM is proud to recognize the accomplishments of our alumni, faculty and staff, who have all helped to create an institution of higher learning that has evolved to become a leader in education, research, innovation and service to the community. Our alumni have left their mark on the world as scientists, business entrepreneurs and teachers. You serve as an inspiration for those who follow.


In other news, my Associate Dean, Dr. Fraka Harmsen, is leaving to become Dean of the College of Natural Sciences at California State University, Chico. Chico State Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Sandra Flake said in a recent press interview, "Fraka comes to us with outstanding experience as a faculty member, chair, and associate dean. The extensive interview and search process affirmed that the excellent record she will bring us in teaching, research, and external support, advancement, and leadership is a solid match for the needs of CSU, Chico." Fraka served the CSM at Fresno State for 26 years. I will miss her as a valued colleague and wish her all the best in her new position.

Program Highlight

The Central California Autism Center (CCAC) at California State University, Fresno, was developed by the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program in the Department of Psychology and opened in July of 2007. The program is supported through a state contract with the Central Valley Regional Center and by the College of Science and Mathematics and the College of Education. The CCAC is a center-based program providing behavioral treatment for young children with a diagnosis along the autism spectrum and is engaged in active, ongoing research. 
CCAC Mission & Purpose
Our mission is three-fold: to provide excellent training and experience for undergraduate and graduate students attending Fresno State, to conduct and promote active research in best practices for behavioral treatment for autism, and to provide the community with outstanding behavioral therapy programs, and evidence based information about autism. 
Information About  Autism
Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have in common a set of symptoms and behavioral characteristics that primarily affect social relatedness, communication and language; the nature of these "spectrum disorders" is that there are multiple variants and partial expressions of the disorder, with no single characteristic being common among all persons that, nonetheless, share some symptoms in common.  ASD affects 1 in 110 children (CDC, 2010).
Darren and AngelinaResearch & Student Training

Currently, over 60 undergraduate and 12 graduate students are employed by the CCAC. Students receive constant training and supervision in a variety of clinical domains.

  •  CCAC is an active research facility.
  • Ongoing research protocols are a constant in the center. Most research projects investigate how certain techniques may facilitate even more progress, faster acquisition, and lower rates of behavior problems with the children with autism.


This 2010-2011 school year:
5 thesis projects, 3 honors theses, and 8 independent graduate and undergraduate research projects have been conducted at the center.  The majority of these have been presented at regional and national conferences. In addition to this, the CCAC is involved with several state and national organizations to promote and advance evidence based practices in autism treatment. This includes projects like the groundbreaking National Standards Project, published by the National Autism Center (2009), for which Dr. Amanda Adams served as a reviewer, and organizations like the California Association for Behavior Analysis.

2010-2011 Community Involvement Features:Kumar.Akers.DT.EM_photo

  • UCSF Medical Center pediatric rotation site at CCAC for residents of the program. Dr. Adams is site supervisor and on the Local Community Pediatric Panel of Experts.
  • FEAT (Families for Early Autism Treatment), a local community based resource and support group for parents of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, continues to work closely with CCAC, donating another $15,000 (Fall 2010).
  • CCAC has formed a partnership with Best Buy electronic store, which will donate $1,000 for every forty hours of community service the center can provide Best Buy employees. CCAC has received more than $8,000 in donations from Best Buys ongoing support.
  • Facebook page created and YouTube movie about CCAC launched, Fall 2010.
  • PSA announcement on local TV stations created by supporters of CCAC begun airing Fall, 2010.
  • Monthly screening clinic offered to community free of charge at CCAC began in Fall, 2010.
  • December, 2010:  1st Annual CCAC Gala held at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Silent auction and event raise $10,000.
  • February, 2011. Autism Awareness day in Oakhurst, CA for new satellite center.
  • Speaking event at Fig Garden Rotary: CCAC and the Fresno Community. February 2010.
  • Luna's in Clovis sponsored a Pasta Feed with all profits going to CCAC, March 27, 2011.
  • The Autism Awareness Field Day is an annual event held by the center to disseminate information, resources, and promote awareness. This event is held on campus and open to CSUF students, faculty, and the greater community. The 2011 event was Saturday, April 2.
  • Fresno Grizzlies to hold an annual Autism Awareness Game & Fundraiser. Last year, the Center received over $12,000 in proceeds from the game. 2011 event was Sunday, April 10.
  • The third annual CCAC Golf Tournament was April 16, 2011 at Table Mountain Golf Course.

CCAC Clinical Outcomes:
The heart of our work is in the results. The training, education and research are only as successful as the outcomes for the clients and families. Autism is a treatable neurological disorder. Best outcomes occur when a child is diagnosed and begins treatment by the age three and participates in a program based on Applied Behavior Analysis at an intensive level (30-40 hours a week) for 2-3 years. All children will make gains. Some children will make so much progress as to lose their diagnosis and become indistinguishable from their peers. Although this is still the minority of cases, significant progress is seen in every client.

  • The Center currently serves 28 children between the ages of 2 and 12 with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum.
  • CCAC has developed a model classroom for the purposes of transitioning children into typical educational settings.
  • CCAC provides parent training and sibling participation programs.
  • 4 children have graduated from the center since 2008 and are now students in regular education classrooms with no supports and have had their diagnosis of autism removed.
  • 3-5 children are beginning a similar transition process.

The CCAC is located on the atrium level of the Kremen School of Education Building.  The CCAC is open Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm. The administrative office is located in ED room 62.  Tours and information are readily provided. 
Contact us today:
Central California Autism Center at California State University, Fresno
Mailing Address: 2576 E San Ramon Ave Fresno, CA 93740
Physical Address: 5005 N Maple Ave Fresno, CA 93740
Phone: 559-278-6773
Fax: 559-278-7910


Biology Students 

Seven students from Dr. Haber's Introduction to Microbiology class attended the NCASM (Northern California American Society for Microbiology) meeting in Pleasanton, CA, on March 12, as invited guests, courtesy of a grant from the national American Society for Microbiology. They attended a Workshop on intriguing career possibilities in Microbiology, a session on outbreaks of food borne pathogens, and exhibits of new Microbiology products. Each student was awarded a one year student membership in the American Society for Microbiology. Currently a student chapter of NCASM is being started on campus.



Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (RIMI)

National Institutes of Health

This spring, RIMI held three separate workshops on Microscopy Techniques. The first workshop was conducted on Saturday February 26. It was quite a success: a total of 10 participants attended. Participants got fundamentals on microscopy, and hands-on experience on the 4D microscope as well as the Confocal microscope.


 The participants included: (1) Dr. Huan Youn (faculty, Biology); (2) Dr, Julie Jin (RIMI); (3) Dr. Glenda W. Polack (UCSF-Orthopedic Surgery Department); (4) Dr. John Bushoven (faculty, Plant Science); (5) Niranjan Sudhakar (graduate student, Dr. Joy Goto); (6) Savann Hok (graduate student, Dr. Joy Goto); (7) Sean Carhart (graduate student, Dr. Kevin Miller); (8) Andrew Strankman (graduate student, Dr. Mamta Rawat); (9) Angelina Velazquez (graduate student, Dr. Mamta Rawat); and (10) Gunjan Naik (graduate student, Dr. Gour Choudhury). These participants are now included into the Google Calendar for the RIMI Microscopy facility, and may schedule time to use the instruments.


The second RIMI Workshop on Microscopy Techniques, conducted on Saturday March 12, was also a success: a total of 8 participants attended. Participants got hands-on experience on Laser Capture Microdissection.


The participants included: (1) Dr. Huan Youn (faculty, Biology); (2) Dr, Julie Jin (RIMI); (3) Dr. Joy Goto (faculty, Chemistry); (4) Niranjan Sudhakar (graduate student, Dr. Joy Goto); (5) Savann Hok (graduate student, Dr. Joy Goto); (6) Sean Carhart (graduate student, Dr. Kevin Miller); (7) Angelina Velazquez (graduate student, Dr. Mamta Rawat); and (8) Gunjan Naik (graduate student, Dr. Gour Choudhury and Dr. Alice Wright).


Thanks to Dr. Glenda W. Polack (UCSF-Orthopedic Surgery Department) for her assistance with the training: she was one of the people trained by the experts from MMI on Laser Capture Microdissection. These participants may schedule time to use the LCM.


The third RIMI Workshop on Microscopy Techniques, was conducted on Saturday March 26 and was a success: a total of 9 participants attended. Participants got hands-on experience on both Microscopy and qPCR FRET.




RIMI Worskshop


The participants in this last workshop included: 1) Dr. Huan Youn (faculty, Biology); 2) Dr, Julie Jin (RIMI); 3) Dr. Joy Goto (faculty, Chemistry); 4) Niranjan Sudhakar (graduate student, Dr. Joy Goto); 5) Savann Hok (graduate student, Dr. Joy Goto); 6) Angelina Velazquez (graduate student, Dr. Mamta Rawat); 7) Gunjan Naik (graduate student, Dr. Gour Choudhury and Dr. Alice Wright); 8) Andrew Strankman (graduate student, Dr. Mamta Rawat; and 9) Glenda W. Polack (UCSF-Fresno, Orthopedic Surgery Department).


I want to particularly thank Venu Polineni (a recently graduated graduate student from my laboratory) for his assistance with the training; he was trained by the experts from Olympus on FRET. These participants can schedule time to use the FRET (both microscopy and qPCR) systems available.


For more information, please visit the RIMI website.



Computer Science

Comp-X Summer CampThe Department of Computer Science is hosting an outreach program, called the Computer Exploration ("Comp-X") Summer Camp again. We seek to recruit 7th- to 12th-graders to take part 10 half-day sessions.
Three primary educational components will be covered in the 2011 Comp-X summer camp:

* Alice ( A 3D graphics and a drag-and-drop tool for first-time programmers
* Android Phone Application Development: Introductory topics on how to program Android Phone applications.
* Advanced Lego Robotic Software Development: Advanced topics on how to program Java code to control LEGO robots using wireless and sensor facilities.

Tuition/Fee is $300 for 10 half-day sessions. For more information or application, please contact Dr. Alex Liu (, 278-4789) or Dr. Ming Li (, 278-4792). 


 Three students, Bryant Cardwell, Nick Read, and Shreyas Joshi made oral presentation and two students, Amany Alnahdi and Pushpeen Chhoker made poster presentation in the Annual Graduate Research and Scholarly Activities Symposium on May 5th, 2011.

CSci 150/152S Software Engineering students will demonstrate their Android smartphone project on May 20th, 2011 in McL 161, at 10:30am. The project offers functionalities that allow students to access course schedule with time, instructor and classroom information, Fresno State events with filtering mechanisms, due date reminders for library items, and campus map.





Collaboration between two Fresno State departments resulted in a published paper titled "Ferrocenyl chalcones versus organic chalcones: A comparative study of their nematocidal activity" was published in the March 6th issue of the peer-reviewed journal Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry  (9, 2055-2073, 2011).  Department of Chemistry members involved included Dr. Saeed Attar, graduate student Zachary O'Brien, and Dr. Melissa Golden. Department of Biology  members involved included Dr. Alejandro Calderon-Urrea and undergraduate student Hasan Alhaddad).    
Congratulations to Dr. Melissa Golden and her students, they were mention, "inChemistry Magazine," two difference times, once for spill kits and once for our "Meet your Professor" series.  The first photo is of Lindsey Graham, and the second photo is Greg Harnden and Dr. Golden.


Chem Anaheim 2011-1

Fresno State Chem Club at the American Chemical Society Student Chapters awards ceremony; ACS National Meeting; Anaheim,CA;  (from left to right) Jonathan Powell (student), Dr. Melissa Golden (Fresno State Chem Club advisor), Dr. Bassam Shahkashiri (Amer Chem Society Pres-Elect), Nick L. Mole (Fresno State Chem Club mascot), Greg Harnden (student), Arturo Gasga (student)

In March of 2011, the students of Fresno State's Chemistry Club attended the American Chemical Society's National Meeting in Anaheim, CA and returned with slightly heavier bags. The Chemistry Club, an officially sanctioned student affiliate of the American Chemical Society, received the Outstanding Student Chapter award and the society's Green Chemistry award for their work during the 2009-2010 school year. The Outstanding Chapter award, the highest honor given to a student affiliate, is awarded based on successful outreach activities, exceptional campus involvement and other endeavors during the academic year. The Green Chemistry award is given to student chapters who integrate principles of green chemistry into their practices. Alicia Alfter, President-Elect of this year's Chemistry Club said, "After three years of hard work and determination, we're proud to say that the Chem Club won such a magnificent award."


Chem Anaheim 2011 - 2

Fresno State Chem Club Vice-President Keri Ponce and the Fresno State Chem Club mascot, Nick L. Mole accept the award for Outstanding Student Affiliate from 2009-2010 American Chemical Society President Dr. Thomas Lane at the American Chemical Society National Meeting.











The America Chemical Society is recognized as the world's largest scientific society and one of the leading resources for scientific professionals. The society works to improve people's lives "through the transforming power of chemistry", as established in their mission statement. Dr. Melissa Golden of the Fresno State Chemistry Department serves as the faculty advisor of the Fresno State Chemistry Club. While attending the national meeting in Anaheim, students also participated in an outreach activity at the Discovery Science Center and a Chemistry "Demo Exchange" at the meeting.

Chem Anaheim 2011-3

Fresno State Chem Club at the ACS Chem Demo Exchange; ACS National Meeting; Anaheim,CA; 3/27/2011 - (Front: Left to Right) Students Keri Ponce, Jenny Harmon, Alicia Alfter; (Back: Left to Right) Students Steven Chabolla, Jonathan Powell, Jaime Green (Fresno City College student), Greg Harnden, Arturo Gasga and Kiran Dhah


 Students also attended the meeting to present research they have conducted in the Chemistry Dept. at Fresno State. The Fresno State Chemistry Club was also asked to present a poster of their work throughout the year to encourage other student affiliate chapters to strive for excellence on their own campuses.

Chem Anaheim 2011-4

Fresno State Chemistry studentsGreg Harnden (blue shirt) and Arturo Gasga (yellow shirt) share their research at the American Chemical Society National Meeting.


Earth and Environmental Sciences 


Student Geology Research Doesn't stop during Summer Break

Geology and Environmental Science students usually don't get a relaxing vacation during the summer break. When classes are over, they pack up their equipment and head out into the mountains to collect data for their research work.


Advised by Dr. Mathieu Richaud, Master's student Takashi Abiko and undergraduate Jeff Papendick will start a research project documenting the possible sediment sources for the Morro Bay sand strand on the central California coast. The project involves looking at river gauge data to infer which rivers are potential sediment sources for the Morro Bay coast, field work in the river beds to collect sediment samples, and then comparing those samples to sediment samples collected on the strand itself.


Structural geologist Dr. John Wakabayashi will be very busy this summer supervising a number of undergraduate and graduate student field projects. These include

Jennifer Jackson will be investigating metamorphic rocks north of Murphy's in the central Sierra Nevada foothills. These rocks may reflect a history of oceanic crust formation, subduction initiation and spreading ridge subduction. Her research will involve detailed field mapping, petrographic thin section examination, geochemical analysis, and electron microprobe analysis (the latter to be conducted at UC Davis).


Nobuaki Masutsubo will be working on similar rocks in the Downieville-Alleghany area of the northern Sierra Nevada. He will be conducting detailed field mapping, petrographic examination, electron microprobe analyses (the latter to be conducted at UC Davis), mineral separation for Ar-Ar age dating (to be conducted at UNLV), and sample collection for detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology (to be conducted at Univ. Arizona).


Maya Hildebrand-Garcia will conduct research on metamorphic rocks in the northeast Sierra Nevada near Quincy, California. Her study focuses on the rock record of oceanic crust formation and subduction initiation associated with the oldest rocks in the Sierra Nevada, as well as processes such as submarine landsliding and creation of chaotic rock units prior to the lithification of some of the rock units. Her research will involve detailed field mapping, petrographic examination, electron microprobe analyses, mineral separation for Ar-Ar dating, and sample collection for detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology and possibly igneous zircon U-Pb geochronology.


Yvan Mendoza will be joining our graduate program in the fall and will get a head start on his research involving the rock record of subduction termination in the Sierra Nevada northeast of Jackson. His research will involve field mapping, petrographic thin section analysis, electron microprobe analysis, mineral separation for Ar-Ar dating, and sample collection for detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology. This research is an expansion of Yvan's senior thesis research.


Chris Kemp will be working on finishing his thesis, and will be writing up the results on his research on the landscape evolution of the northernmost Sierra Nevada.


Andy Shriver will be working on the final stages of his thesis research, focusing on the landscape evolution of the Sierra Nevada in the Donner Pass to Yuba Pass region as well as quantifying the relative efficacy of glacial versus fluvial erosion. His summer research will involve quantitative GIS analysis of digital elevation data as well as field data he has collected.


Shannon Mark will be investigating the evolution of a restraining step-over and uplifting region, including Mount Diablo, between the Concord and Greenville faults in the eastern San Francisco Bay area. Her investigation will involve quantitative GIS analysis of digital elevation data, detailed field mapping of stream terraces, and collection of samples for U-series dating of carbonate rinds on terrace gravels.


Although she is graduating and will be entering the PhD program at Stanford this fall, Rachel Prohoroff will be busy writing the second paper for publication from her senior thesis research as well as revising the first one she submitted when it comes back from review.


Hydrologist Dr. Luke Wang has two groups of students who will be working on different projects. One group comprised of two graduate students and four undergraduates will be working on the Shallow Saline Groundwater Monitoring project at NAS Lemoore, funded by DoD in 2010. We have been measuring the groundwater levels and water quality since Nov 2010, and will drill about 25 new monitoring wells at places that were not adequately covered by existing wells. Soil samples will be taken during the drilling process for physical and chemical analyses during the summer. Recommendations on future groundwater studies, plant varieties and salinity amelioration will be made for better environmental management of the military base.


The second group of one to three students will be measuring a storm water drainage system near Woodward Park that goes through a soil and wetland filtering system before discharging into the San Joaquin River. It will take several years to evaluate the effectiveness of the soil and wetland system. Recommendations may be made on whether a neighboring parcel of land should be used for wastewater treatment. Two students are supported by the METRO program, the rest are supported by the DoD grant.





There were four lectures in the Department of Mathematics Lecture Series: "The mathematics of skeletal shape models" by Dr. Kathryn Leonard (CSU Channel Islands) on February 4; "O zeros where art thou?" by Dr. Tamas Forgacs (Fresno State) on February 25; "The mathematics of Sudoku" by Dr. Oscar Vega (Fresno State) on March 25 and "Unruh/Hawking radiation for undergraduates" by Dr. Douglas Singleton (Fresno State) on April 8.

Several faculty members had articles accepted for publication: "Multiplier sequences for generalized Laguerre bases" by Dr. Tamas Forgacs and Dr. Andrej Piotrowski (University of Alaska-Southeast) in the Rocky Mountain Journal of Mathematics; "On the quantum filtration of the universal sl(2) foam cohomology" by Dr. Carmen Caprau in the Journal of Knot Theory and its Ramifications, and "Particular Solution to the Euler-Cauchy Equation with Polynomial Non-Homogeneities" by Dr. Doreen Deleon and Dr. Adnan Sabuwala in the Proceedings of the AIMS.

The book "Analysis and Algebra" by Drs. Tamas Forgacs and Oscar Vega was selected by the Department of Mathematics for the fourteenth annual event to honor faculty publications in March.

Drs Tomas Forgas and Oscar VegaOn March 14, 2011 (Pi Day), the Math Club organized a 'Pie in the face' event. Two faculty members (Drs. Tamas Forgacs and Oscar Vega) got pied!

On Saturday, April 16, the Department of Mathematics organized again the Math Field Day, a mathematics competition for middle and high school students in the area. Dr. Carmen Caprau is organizing this event and almost all faculty members joined in!


On April 26, Dr. Kay Kelm organized the Ninth Integration Bee, a mathematical competition similar to a spelling bee but in which students had to evaluate integrals.


It has been a busy semester for our undergraduate students!


Dhiraj Holden (a very independent and brilliant University High School student) got his paper "Results on the 3x+1 and 3x+d conjecture" accepted for publication in the Fibonacci Quarterly. Dhiraj has been accepted to UC Berkeley, University of Chicago, and Caltech for his undergraduate studies.
Our undergraduate students did extremely well in the Seventy-First William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition. There were 4296 contestants from 546 institutions across the US and Canada. Benjamin Wright scored a whopping 30 points, putting him in the top 12%, while Andrew Gabriel scored an impressive 10 points to place in the top 30%. Congratulations to both!
James Tipton presented a poster at the MAA meeting of the Northern California, Nevada and Hawaii Section at Santa Rosa Junior College in February.
Eight students and two faculty members attended the Sixth Pacific Coast Undergraduate Mathematics Conference at Loyola Marymount University on March 12. Michelle Hoshiko, Mario Banuelos, and Benjamin Wright gave three talks about their research with Dr. Tamas Forgacs.

Four undergraduate students (Michelle Hoshiko, Mario Banuelos, Ben Wright, and James Tipton) who worked on research projects with Dr. Tamas Forgacs, and Dr. Carmen Caprau, gave two talks at the Center of Undergraduate Research in Mathematics Spring Conference at Brigham Young University on March 18. They also presented their results in the Department Seminar Series and  in the Central California Research Symposium held at Fresno State on April 6. Congratulations to James Tipton who won the award for best presentation in mathematics! 


James Tipton
James Tipton
Ana-Cristina Jimenez



Ana-Cristina Jimenez and James Tipton are both accepted to the Ph.D. program in mathematics at the University of Iowa. Ana-Cristina received a GAANN fellowship while James got a teaching assistant ship. Congratulations to both! 



Physics Student ParticipationRemember when you saw your first science demonstration?  It was like magic to you.  You may not have pursued a career in science, but you will always remember that special moment.  Presently, one course is determined to provide as many of those moments as possible.  The Physics 175TS Physics Outreach course is a service-learning course offered at California State University, Fresno.  This course was designed after a successful physics outreach program that had been operating for the previous two semesters.  Through service-learning, students will learn effective, fun, safe and appropriate teaching techniques in an actual classroom setting.  In addition,Physics Jussi-PCH-FlowersFrozen it promotes interest in physics and science in general.  The main goal of the service-learning course is to assist Fresno State students in learning to describe the basic laws of Newtonian mechanics, electromagnetism, and thermal physics in concise and simple language to educate the general public.
Physics StudentsWatchingTeacher-on-bed-nailsLed by Mr. Don Williams and Professor Pei-Chun Ho, students in this course prepare and practice several physics demonstrations and travel each week to area K-12 schools to put on two to three one-hour "shows" for the students.  The kids in these schools are excited when they get to lift their teacher with one hand by utilizing mechanical advantage, learn about pressure by lying on a bed of nails, and enjoy ice cream made right before their eyes with liquid nitrogen.  The Fresno State sPhysics BernouliTP-DWtudents enrolled in this outreach course are provided with key insights into networking, public speaking, and being more articulate in explaining concepts of physics using simple words.  In addition, general information is being collected about the schools being visited.  By collecting this information about demographics, teaching styles, and types of questions asked by the kids, the outreach students are gaining a better understanding of how to effectively instruct students at this level.  This will help our outreach students in their future careers as science educators.
Are you interested in becoming part of this exciting physics outreach program?  Get involved now!  Contact Mr. Don Williams at 559-278-1434 or; or Professor Pei-Chun Ho at 559-278-5990 or



In April, the Downing Planetarium offered four different shows to the public.  On Friday, April 15, 2011, we presented Bad Astronomy (7:00 p.m.) and The Endless Horizon (8:00 p.m.).  Bad Astronomy features Phil Plait, the "Bad Astronomer" as he investigates several astronomical myths and misconceptions, including UFOs, horoscopes, and the Moon landing "hoax," as well as common astronomical errors in the movies. The Endless Horizon, our newest show, highlights mankind's innate desire to explore the land, sea, sky, and space in order to better understand our place in the Universe.

On Saturday, April 16, 2011, we presented two afternoon shows.  The Case of the Disappearing Planet (2:00 p.m.), our children's show, follows Detective Skye Watcher as she examines the changing status of objects we call "planetsPhysics Star Theatre Horsehead." The program not only covers Pluto, but the temporary planetary status of asteroids as well.  Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico examines the early culture, astronomy and history of what is now called Mexico and Central America.



For more information, please call 559-278-4121 or visit


Meet our Psychology Faculty!

Our most recent addition to the Psychology faculty is Hong Ni, a school psychology faculty. On the other end of the "faculty life cycle" are our two beloved FERPers, Aroldo Rodrigues and Robert (Bob) Levine.

From left: Aroldo, Hong and Robert



 Aroldo Rodrigues

 Aroldo hails from Brazil.  After obtaining a Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles he became actively engaged in teaching and research in Brazilian universities. During this period he was elected President of national and international associations (Brazilian Association of Applied Psychology, Latin American Association for Social Psychology, and The Interamerican Society of Psychology) , and was elected Fellow of APA's Division 8 in 1982. In 1993 he joined the faculty of the Department of Psychology at Fresno State.  He served as Chair of the Department of Psychology for seven years, and was nominated Professor Emeritus upon his retirement in 2008. He is currently teaching part-time as part of the FERP program. During Aroldo's career he has published 8 books (the most notable of them being Social Psychology, a textbook with several editions and 30 printings in Portuguese and Spanish, with a new edition to be published in 2012 to celebrate its 40th anniversary), and over 140 other publications including journal articles, book chapters, and monographs.  He is currently writing a new book on optimism and pessimism.

Hong Ni
Dr. Ni hails from China.  In 2000, she came from mainland China to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to pursue a doctoral degree in educational psychology. After she earned her Ed.S. in school psychology in 2005, she became a school psychology practitioner in Iowa. She worked primarily in elementary schools for four years in Iowa. In 2008 she got her Ph.D. in educational psychology, and in 2009 she came to CSU Fresno to become a faculty member in the Psychology Department. She teaches course on Academic Assessment, School Consultation, Multicultural Psychology, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the School Psychology Program. She research interests include cross-cultural studies in teachers', parents', and students' beliefs/perceptions about different aspects of school learning and student adjustment. 
Robert Levine
Robert (Bob) Levine is a Professor of Psychology and former Associate Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at California State University, Fresno, where he has won awards for both his teaching and research.  He is a Fellow in the American Psychological Association.  In 2007 he was both named Outstanding Teacher of the year by the Western Psychological Association and received the Provost's Award for Teacher of the Year at California State University, Fresno.  He has published many articles in professional journals as well as articles in trade periodicals such as Discover, American Demographics, The New York Times, Utne Reader, and American Scientist. His book, A Geography of Time (Basic Books, 1997), was the subject of feature stories around the world, including Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, CNN, the BBC, ABC's Primetime, and NPR's All Things Considered and Marketplace. It has been translated into six languages.  His recent book, The Power of Persuasion: How We're Bought and Sold (John Wiley & Sons, 2003), has been translated into seven languages. An updated, paperback revision was published in 2006.  Bob became a "FERPer" in 2008. 


Martin Shapiro, Ph.D.

They search for trapped people in collapsed buildings, they can be used to detect cancer, identify

 invasivePsych Bri agricultural products at an airport and detect hidden contraband such as drugs.These dogs are highly trained and efficient at showing specific responses to target odors. However, once trained, dogs often have little opportunity to find a target whilst working due to the low level of targets available for detection. This led to a study of whether indeed contraband detecting dogs lose motivation, vigilance or accuracy over an extended time in the field spent without finding a target odor, and whether there are training mechanisms that could help to mitigate this problem.To run this experiment, a UK agency sought the help of two organizations; Oxford Risk to design the experiment and analyze the results, and the Canine Detection Research Institute (CDRI) at Auburn University to train the dogs and run the experiment.


Oxford Risk is a company started in 2002 by three prominent scientists at Oxford University: Dr. Alex Kacelnik, Lord John Krebs, and Dr. Edward Mitchell, with the purpose of providing advice to companies on issues related to the assessment and understanding of risky decision making. They also have decades of experience in the design of research in animal behavior. I worked with Dr. Kacelnik and Dr. Mitchell during a two-year post-doc at the Zoology Department at Oxford.


Since I was on sabbatical in the fall, I returned to Oxford for a week to discuss a paper that Dr. Kacelnik and I were co-authoring and to discuss an on-going collaboration on a risk assessment tool that I am currently using with my graduate students.


During my visit, I sat in on a few meetings concerning the dog project and by the end of the week had been asked to fly to Auburn with Dr. Mitchell and the client to watch the dogs being trained and meet with the Senior Scientist of CDRI (Dr. Paul Waggoner) to discuss the specifics of the design. Since then, I was asked to increase my level of participation and so traveled back to Auburn in the middle of January to watch as the dogs finished their training and to discuss further the details of the experiment.

Psych Bri_2


This is an extremely interesting and challenging project. In my career, I've been primarily concerned with theoretical issues of animal learning and so appreciate that this research applies some of these theories to a real-life purpose. The research lab can be a relatively easy place to control for the experiences of an animal in terms of the stimuli it receives, behavior opportunities and rewards; in addition, the level of objectivity in the record of behavior can be tightly controlled. This experiment with dogs makes all those variables much more challenging but still as important. It has also been an extraordinary collaboration between the client who sees a potential problem, Oxford Risk with years of experience in strict methodology and the theoretical influences on behavior and the trainers at CDRI who are experts at training and certifying contraband detecting dogs.



Psych Jimmy

The dogs (all Labradors) had initial training in contraband detection from October through January in one facility and began the working phase of the experiment in a new environment on January 31st. The dogs were divided into three groups, each getting different experience in the ability to find scented targets for which they are rewarded. During this work phase the vigilance of their search and their accuracy in detection is monitored. After weeks of in this work phase, the dog will be tested in the same way in locating contraband. In addition to contributing to the design of the experiment, I have been asked to assist in data analysis. While I've enjoyed the partnership and the challenge of the strictly academic problem, there has also been a great deal of satisfaction knowing that this work may contribute to the real life issue of contraband detection. This scarcity of finds may compromise performance by lowering the dog's motivation and vigilance, leading to reduced performance when they do encounter targets.




Science Math Education Center

Circuit Science May 2011 

Circuit Science

On May 23rd through the 27th, the Science and Mathematics Education Center (SMEC) once again organized and sponsored the "Circuit Science" event for elementary school students (grades 3-6). Students came from various school districts throughout The Valley including Kings Canyon, Sanger, Selma, and Fresno Unified. "Circuit Science" provided an opportunity for these students to learn about science through hands-on inquiry and discovery. Through this process, students had the opportunity to learn about topics related to all four science disciplines and in mathematics. The event was hosted by the Natural Science Club. Volunteers came from many departments across campus.

Fresno State Teaching Fellows (FRESTEF)
The Science and Mathematics Education Center (SMEC) has successfully recruited excellent candidates for all slots in the National Science Foundation-funded Fresno State Teaching Fellows (FRESTEF) program. We currently have 18 Fellows of which 9 are math, 2 chemistry, 1 Earth Science, 3 physics, and 3 biology. FRESTEF supports graduate students who are pursuing both a masters in one of the science disciplines or in mathematics and a credential in order to teach in a "high need" schools. The purpose is to place the most highly qualified teachers out in "high need" schools in hopes to further close the "achievement gap." To date, 3 masters and credential candidates (1 chemistry, 1 physics, and 1 math) have completed their program and are currently employed.

Western Regional Noyce Conference (WRNC)
The Western Regional Noyce Conference (WRNC) is a three year ongoing annual two day-long professional development and networking conference for 250 or more Robert Noyce Scholars attending from campuses throughout the Western Region of the United States. WRNC funding for the three year initiative was awarded (National Science Foundation) to Fresno State through the Science and Mathematics Education Center. WRNC took place in Fresno in 2010 and the grant provides for two sub-contracts; one to CSU Long Beach (2011 WRNC) and another to the University of Arizona (WRNC 2012). This year's conference was a highly successful event held in Costa Mesa, California and very well attended. We look forward to our third conference at the University of Arizona next year.

Jordan Anderson


2010 STAR and Fresno State Teaching Fellow (FRESTEF) Jordan Anderson examines phytoplankton and zooplankton to determine the abundance, distribution, and diversity of bioluminescent species at various ocean depths.


Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR)
STAR is a summer research internship for aspiring science and mathematics teachers. The program is offered by the California State University in partnership with the US Department of Energy National Laboratories, National Science Foundation, NASA, federal agencies, and private research organizations. The STAR program is currently coordinated by CSU Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Six Robert C. Noyce undergraduate and graduate Scholars/Fellows from Fresno State have applied and have been selected for this great opportunity. Congratulations to: Daniel Ruiz who will be working at NASA Ames, Kaitlyn Fiechtner who will be working at NASA Dryden, Jordan Anderson who will be working at NASA JPL, Damion Delton - Romberg Tiburon Center, and Bradley Powers and Thuy Nguyen for whom assignments are still pending. We look forward to developing a similar program for undergraduate students here in the College of Science and Mathematics's faculty.

National Science Teachers Association Conference
The National Science Teachers Association conference took place on March 10 -14, 2011 in which 25 students from Fresno State attended. Students received sponsorship through various programs available on campus in order to defray costs to attend. The conference provided many opportunities for these future teachers such as professional development workshops; collect a multitude of free teaching materials and posters; gather information related to their career interest; and network with teachers who were coming from different corners of the United States. Many of the students are participants of the Natural Science Club and are associates of the Science and Mathematics Education Center.

Robert C. Noyce Scholarship Program
The Robert C. Noyce Scholarship program is one of many projects that are under the umbrella of the Science and Mathematics Education Center (SMEC). To date, SMEC has supported 116 students and has produced over 60 teachers who are continuing their science and math teaching careers in high need schools. Fresno State's Noyce program is one of the largest programs in the United States and has received recognition from the National Science Foundation as being a model program for dissemination. We owe this recognition to the students whom have participated in this program. It is because of their courage and intrinsic intentions to make a difference in urban and rural settings that the program at Fresno State has been recognized. b

Kings Canyon California Math and Science Partnership Program
The Science and Mathematics Education Center enjoys a strong partnership with Kings Canyon and Sanger Unified School District under the Kings Canyon California Math and Science partnership program. This program provides professional development opportunities for science teachers in both districts which incorporates the Teacher Learning Collaborative model developed out of West Ed.

Undergraduate students from Fresno State are also supported in order to gain experience in the science classroom under this program through the SMEC Early Field Experience program. Currently, we have placed 7 students in both middle and high school science classrooms. This program is operating in its 2nd year and is scheduled to end on June 1, 2012.

SMEC Noyce 1Early Field Experiences
SMEC provides students with a comprehensive early field experience (job shadowing) in conjunction with training workshops designed to better prepare them for the demands of the teaching profession. Students participate in this program as early as their freshman year and continue this experience up until their senior year before they enter the credential program. This program provides an opportunity for future teacher candidates to develop skill sets they will need in order to adjust easily to their working environment once they begin their new position as first year teachers. Currently there are 30 volunteers whom have been placed in schools throughout the valley which include schools from Fresno, Kings Canyon, Sanger, Clovis, and Selma Unified. In the past, the program has been supported by local school districts, the National Science Foundation, and most recently the WalMart Foundation.

National Science Digital Library (NSDL): Building Locally - Linking Globally
The National Science Digital Library project titled "Building Locally - Linking Globally" is an initiative that was funded by the National Science Foundation. This program builds on a strong partnership with the CSU Chancellor's Office and CSU, Bakersfield, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Monterey, Pomona, and San Bernardino, . The program is designed to provide Noyce Scholars technological training and support for those planning to teach in "high need" settings. The training includes workshops which show Scholars how to use online lab simulations, develop electronic portfolios, webinars, etc. A number of Fresno State's Noyce scholars (now teachers) who have received training in the past are now trainers of these technologies and have conducted workshops nationally, statewide and locally. These trainers include: Jennifer Bradford, Sara Meadows, Stephanie Chow, Frank Garcia, Amanda Manuzack, and Catherine Clendenin.