Newsletter

In This Issue
Program Highlight
Biology
Chemistry
Computer Science
EES/Geology
Mathematics
Physics
Psychology
Alumni News
In other news
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Welcome

 October 2011

  

The College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) is beginning the first year of Fresno State's second century as an engaged comprehensive university that is serving the Central Valley region through scholarly discovery, cultural diversity and academic distinction. The College of Science and Mathematics continues to be an integral part of the University's significance to the Valley with sustained vitality in faculty scholarship, educational opportunities for students, curricular innovation and fund raising.


As announced in the previous edition of the CSM newsletter, Associate Dean Fraka Harmsen has begun a new position as Dean of the College of Natural Sciences at California State University, Chico. Soon thereafter, Dean Andrew Rogerson was appointed Provost at California State University, Sonoma. Chico State and Sonoma State are very fortunate to have acquired these two talented academic leaders, and we wish them the very best in their new positions. 


Dean HoffAnd so the first year of Fresno State's second century begins with new leadership at the helm of the College of Science and Mathematics. The new Dean and Associate Dean of the College are Andrew Hoff and Rick Zechman. Andy has joined the College while still performing duties as Dean of the College of Health and Human Services. Andy is an experienced leader at Fresno State with a broad knowledge of University policy and administration. Rick is the former Chair of the Department of Biology with a strong research background in molecular phylogenetics and evolution. Our major goal is to keep supporting and strengthening the academic and financial footing of the College of Science and Math for the benefit of our Rick Zechmanstudents, the faculty, and the Central Valley Region.


As evidence of the continuing strength and vitality of the College, consider some recent faculty and student accomplishments. CSM faculty, along with their students, published over 100 scientific papers last year in peer-reviewed journals and presented 232 papers at scientific conferences. Fresno State students, through the research activity of faculty mentors, conducted research funded through the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health and the US Department of Agriculture. Some of our students had the amazing opportunity to conduct research at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland and at NASA's Houston Space Center. Involving students in research that leads to this kind of scholarly activity lies at the core of the CSM's mission in providing career inspiring activities to our students.  

 

We're very pleased to announce that the CSM, through the hard work of Brent Auernheimer, former Dean Rogerson, and numerous other CSM faculty, were awarded a $250,000 grant from the Keck Foundation to develop a Computational Science Center. The Center will provide high performance computing to Fresno State students, faculty and their collaborators, and will house cutting edge classroom technology and collaborative student learning spaces for active teaching and learning.  The new facility will be a special asset for student learning and will provide core support for undergraduate and graduate research students. 

 

We are also fortunate to welcome to campus 19 new graduate student scholars that are funded with scholarships from the College and through the generous support of the Provost and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. These new graduate student recruits will help drive the sustained research activity of the College and numerous research programs.


It's going to be a great year! We look forward to collaborating with you and our many friends in the region, across the State and the Nation in continuing to provide cutting edge teaching, learning and research at Fresno State.


Sincerely,


Andy Hoff, Dean, College of Science and Mathematics


Rick Zechman, Associate Dean, College of Science and Mathematics

 

 

Program Highlight

Astrophysics Research at Fresno State is carried out by Dr. Frederick A. Ringwald and his students. It mainly concerns cataclysmic variable stars and related objects, such as novae and black holes. We also observe exoplanets, which are planets of other stars, and stellar flares.

 

 In a cataclysmic variable, a normal star (like the Sun) spills gas onto a burned-out cinder that once was a star, called a white dwarf.   The normal star and the white dwarf orbit each other very quickly, in as little as 80 minutes, so the gas deflects around the white dwarf into an accretion disk, or cosmic whirlpool. 

 

The disk can easily dominate the light, so we use cataclysmic variables to study accretion disk physics. There are disks of many kinds across the Universe, from the rings of Saturn, to star formation, to the disk of our galaxy, the Milky Way. The Milky Way rotates once every 250 million years, though. Cataclysmic variables operate on human timescales: the wonders of the Universe unfold before our eyes.  

 

 

Gerald Rude won the Best Poster award at the 32nd Annual Central California Research Symposium, April 2011. His research on cataclysmic variable stars used observations from Fresno State's station at Sierra Remote Observatories.  Jerry and his advisor, Dr. Ringwald, had two observing runs at Wyoming Infrared Observatory in 2011 to learn more about the waves he discovered  in the accretion disks of several cataclysmic variables.   

 

Michael Gariety's M.S. thesis was selected as Outstanding Thesis for the College of Science and Mathematics for 2011.  It was a theoretical analysis of three recently developed methods of estimating distances to cataclysmic variables, compared with Hubble Space Telescope and other observations.

 

 

 

Most astrophysics research at Fresno State uses Fresno State's station at Sierra Remote Observatories, which Dr. Ringwald and his students operate by remote control from campus, over the Internet. It is at a superb dark site in the Sierra Nevada, near Shaver Lake.  

 

Biology

 

Dr. Rick Zechman, Professor of Biology and Associate Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics was awarded the Luigi Provasoli Award by the Phycological Society of America in recognition for authoring the outstanding paper published in the Journal of Phycology for 2010, specifically, Zechman, F.W., H. Verbruggen, F. Leliaert, M.A. Buchheim, M.W. Fawley, M. Ashworth, H. Spalding, C. Peuschel, J.A. Buchheim, B. Verghese, M.D. Hanisak. 2010. An unrecognized ancient lineage of green plants persists in deep marine waters. J. Phycol. 46:6 pg 1288-1295. DOI: 10.1111/j.1529-8817.2010.00900.x.

Verdigellas_D&M_Littler
JSL_3Dr. Zechman and his coauthors determined through comparison of DNA sequences that the deep-water green algae, Palmophyllum and Verdigellas, are members of one of the earliest diverging evolutionary lineages of green plants. These organisms occur in marine habitats as deep as 600 feet. Specimens were collected off San Salvador Island, Bahamas using Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute's Johnson Sea-Link manned submersibles. Additional specimens were also collected off the coast of California with the Monterey Bay Research Institute's remotely operated vehicle, Ventana.

 

   

Mamta RawatDr. Mamta Rawat received an NASA Astrobiology Program Minority Institution Research Support (NAP-MIRS) award to spend ten weeks this past summer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) at California Institution of Technology. She was one of the three recipients of this national award.  At JPL, in collaboration with Dr. K. Venkateswaran of the Planetary Protection and Biotechnology Group, she conducted research on bacteria isolated from clean room facilities where spacecraft are assembled.  Previously, survey of these clean rooms had revealed the existence of strains of bacteria that form spores resistant to high levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation and vaporous hydrogen used to sterilize these facilities. One of the major concerns of the Planetary Protection Group is that these organisms may be able to "hitch" a ride to Mars, where they can potentially survive and maybe grow, thereby contaminating the planet. To develop new eradication strategies, a thorough understanding of how these bacteria survive extremophilic conditions, in particular UV radiation, is needed. Dr. Rawat is investigating the role of thiols in protection against UV radiation in these bacteria.  
 
Many students took part in summer research, including Jordan Anderson, who spent 9 weeks at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)/NASA in Pasadena. Jordan examined snow water equivalent (SWE) as measured by the MODIS sensor on the Terra satellite for the Sierra Nevada. She also used remotely sensed NDVI values. Finally, she evaluated soil moisture and snow pack depth measured in situ in the Sierra Nevada.

During her first week at JPL, Jordan viewed the JPL crew working on Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover that will launch for Mars this Thanksgiving. The viewing gallery guest book, with all guest signatures, will be reduced to microscopic print and placed on the rover. Eventually, all guest book signatures, including Jordan's, will be on Mars!  
 
Additional Biology students who participated in off-campus summer research experiences are: 

Name

Institution

Project

Ibraheem Ali

Yale University

Analysis of the Silkless gene in corn

Deanna Arsala

Cornell University

RNA interference to investigate ethylene signaling and ripening in tomato plants

Cynthia Contreras

Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute, La Jolla CA

Protein turnover in yeast cells

Kenya Covarrubias

Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute

 

Inhibition of syntenin, which promotes cancer metastasis

Nathan Follen

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Maize genetics and dwarfing genes

Monica Gonzalez

Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute

N-terminal proteomics techniques;  caspase reactivation

Joseph Oloo

Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute

De-repressing a caspase inhibitor to allow programmed cell death

Joel Ramirez

Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute

Differential proteomics in prostate cancers

Thanks to Dr. Jason Bush, Dr. Alejandro Calderon-Urrea, Dr. Paul Crosbie, and Dr. Jim Prince for their arranging these student summer research experiences.
 
 
Dr. Tsukimura
Dr. Tsukimura fulfilling his
SICB duties

 

Dr. Brian Tsukimura is serving as the Program Officer for The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) since January 2010. The Program Officer is one of the four elected-officials that are in charge of the societies operations (the other three are President, Secretary and Treasurer). They meet weekly to discuss and decide society activities, responses to world and national events, and day to day operations.
 
As Program Officer, Dr. Tsukimura, Chair the Program Committee, which develops the SICB meeting programs for the society, including selecting and funding 10-11 symposia per year. These symposia presentations are the only content of our journal, Integrative and Comparative Biology. Thus, the journal content is completely determined by this Program Committee. The journal impact factor relies on its content, thus proper selection of content is vital to increasing and maintaining the journals position in the top 10 (out of 172) for general biology. In addition, they establish the program, about 1100 presentations per year.
 
In addition, the Program Officer participates in the Broadening Participation Committee of SICB, whose subcommittee submitted a $500,000 grant from NSF for broadening participation in biological science. They have been requested to attend a NSF workshop in October to fine-tune this proposal with two other societies.
 
Lastly, Dr. Tsukimura is now treasurer of The Crustacean Society

 Chemistry

The Department of Chemistry participated in the CSU Engaged Department Institute (EDI) for the Sciences, at the CSU Chancellor's Office in Long Beach, California, June 20-22, 2011. Chemistry Department faculty and staff including, Joy Goto, Eric Person, Saeed Attar, Donnie Golden, Melissa Golden and community partner, Stephen Bock, Associate Director of Educational Services, Fresno County Office of Education, co-wrote and were one of five teams awarded and invited to participate in the EDI. The EDI was hosted by the California State University, Center for Community Engagement in partnership with Learn and Serve America. The Chemistry team was also supported by the Fresno State Richter Center. The goal of the EDI was to develop strategies to incorporate service-learning and community-based work into the chemistry undergraduate curriculum. For additional information, go to http://www.calstate.edu/cce/stem/.

Eric Person, Donnie Golden, Saeed Attar, Stephen Bock, Joy Goto

The Chemistry EDI Team: (l-r): Donnie Golden, Stephen Bock, Eric Person, Joy Goto, Saeed Attar

Dr. George B. Kauffman (Emeritus Professor, Chemistry) was elected as a 2011 American Chemistry Society (ACS) Fellow. There have only been 4 California State University faculty named to be fellows since 2009. In 2010, Dr. Stephen Rodemeyer (Emeritus Professor, Chemistry and Director, Emeritus of the Smittcamp Honors College) became a Fellow.

  

Team Fresno State (including faculty mentor,

 Dr. Joy Goto - Chemistry)

  

A group of eight Fresno State undergraduates participated in the NASA Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program (RGEFP). The students' proposal was selected from a nationwide competition. They were one of 14 undergraduate teams to participate at NASA's Ellington Field in Houston, Texas, July 7-17th, 2011. Their NASA-approved rig was designed to synthesize and capture the crystal formation of calcium oxalate, a form of kidney stones, during parabolic flight, simulating 0 G conditions. (See the press release for more details).

  

Two of the participating undergraduates were CSM Chemistry majors Riann Egusquiza (B.A., Chan Scholar, Chemistry Honors Program), and Jordan Ringel (B.S.), and Chemistry minor Mujahid Umar (Team leader, Engineering major, Chemistry minor).   

  

Team One

Team 1: (l-r) Mujahid Umar (chemistry minor, Engineering major and Team Fresno State team leader), Riann Egusquiza, Jordan Ringel and Gonzalo Leyva. This is Team 1 onboard the Weightless Wonder - July 14, 2011

Jordan and Riann, weightless and conducting outreach activities onboard the KC135

  

  




For the second year in a row, the Fresno State Chemistry Club, an officially sanctioned student affiliate of the American Chemical Society, (ACS), received an Outstanding Student Chapter Award for its 2010-2011 activities.
  The Outstanding Chapter award, the highest honor given to a student affiliate, is awarded based on excellent outreach activities, dynamic campus involvement, dedicated volunteerism, and hosting a variety of activities including Earth Day and Mole Day.  The Fresno State Chemistry Club will be recognized in the November/December issue of "in Chemistry" magazine and at the ACS Student Chapter Award Ceremony that will be held at the 243rd ACS National Meeting in San Diego, CA.  Dr. Melissa Golden and Dr. Joy Goto, both Assistant Professors in the Chemistry Department, serve as the faculty advisors for the Fresno State Chemistry Club. Congratulations!

2011 GRASP Chemistry Recipients (L-R): Kurt Heisel (B.S. Biochemistry, Oregon State University), Kang Xiong (B.A. Chemistry, Fresno State), Kennedy Vu (B.A. Chemistry, Fresno State) and Martin Leon (Saint Mary's College of California).

Chemistry Department Awards GRASP Chemistry Graduate Fellowships

The Chemistry department awarded scholarships to four students in Fall 2011 through the graduate scholarship program (GRASP) in Chemistry. The program, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (Award Number 1059994), provides scholarships to academically talented students with a demonstrated financial need. Selected students receive a $10,000/year stipend and a $1,000/year travel grant for two years. The program will support at least 20 MS Chemistry students over the next five years.

Back (L-R): Lucien Nana, Austen Scruggs and Dr. Geoff Tyndall (NCAR). Front (L-R): Kennedy Vu and Catalina Olea.

Fresno State Students Visit NCAR

Four Fresno State students visited the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado to carry out atmospheric chemistry research under the guidance of senior scientist Dr. Geoff Tyndall. The students spent five weeks at NCAR working on a project to improve our understanding of the atmospheric chemistry of isoprene, a chemical emitted in large quantities by plants and trees. The research will continue at Fresno State and NCAR through 2013, supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (Award Number 1035176).

   

Computer Science

The Department of Computer Science will participate in a nationally-recognized coding for charity event, called Give Camp (www.givecamp.org), in spring 2012. Students enrolled in CSCI 152S Software Engineering (a service-learning course) will team up with IT professionals to elicit requirements as well as design, implement, and maintain software for nonprofit organizations. Sponsors included the City of Fresno and Microsoft, to name a few. For volunteer opportunities, please contact Dr. Liu of Computer Science department (shliu@csufresno.edu). 


Faculty of Indiana University and Dr. Liu of Computer Science secured a three-year $300,000 grant from Indiana University to establish the "Center for Three-Dimensional Imaging of the Craniofacialdental Complex" in Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Dr. Liu's responsibilities include research collaboration, consultation, and technical support.


Ming Li was awarded a grant from National Science Foundation (NSF) for a proposal titled "Support for the Educational Activities at ACM Multimedia 2011".


2011 Computer Exploration Summer Camp, organized by Dr. Li and Dr. Liu, was a success. On the presentation day, 15 students demonstrated five Alice projects, six Android smart phone projects, and five LEGO NXT robotic projects as well as a Sumo Wrestler Competition. David Long from Sanger High won the first place, followed by Sean Won of Clovis High and David Hager of Clovis North. For more information of 2012 summer camp or computer science project advisory, please contact Dr. Li at mingli@csufresno.edu, or Dr. Liu at shliu@csufresno.edu.  

Earth and Environmental Sciences 
It feels as if the pace of activity in the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences has never let up since the Spring 2011 semester. The 2010-2011 academic year ended with a real bang, with more than 40 Department alumni attending the College's Centennial Celebration and awards ceremony, and then the Department's Graduation Banquet and awards ceremony at River Ranch House. Many students received awards and scholarship recognition, the most notable of which was graduating senior Rachel Prorohoff, who was named the College Outstanding Undergraduate student. Rachel is now entering the Geology Ph.D. program at Stanford University.

 

Summertime is spent by many of the EES faculty in field research, and Chris Pluhar. Pete Van de Water, Keith Putirka, John Wakabayashi, and Mathieu Richaud were busy in various field locations in California and elsewhere.

 

The Department welcomed 11 new graduate students for the Fall 2011 semester, bringing our graduate student numbers to 34, the most the department has had since the 1970s. All of our graduate students, as well as the undergraduate majors, will be recruited to help the Department host the 2013 meeting of the Cordilleran Section of the Geological Society of America. Chaired by John Wakabayashi, the Department expects to host more than 1000 geologists from all around the world at this important and prestigious meeting.

 

 

 

 Mathematics

During the summer, Dr. Tamas Forgacs mentored three undergraduate students at the Brigham Young University Mathematics REU. The results of their research are contained in the paper On Legendre Multiplier Sequences, which has been submitted to a refereed journal for publication.

 

Dr. Forgacs and undergraduate students Ben Wright and James Tipton completed another research paper and submitted it to a refereed journal.


Drs. Tamas Forgacs, Oscar Vega, Larry Cusick and Ke Wu submitted a $300K NSF grant  in order to bring a Math REU to Fresno State during the next three summers.


Dr. Oscar Vega gave a talk The Math of Sudoku II at the College of Science and Mathematics Centennial Celebration here at Fresno State.


Drs. Larry Cusick's and Oscar Vega's paper Finite groups of derangements on the n-cube II was accepted for publication in the Electronic Journal of Combinatorics.


Dr. Oscar Vega and graduate student Isaac Birnbaum submitted their research paper, "Various Results on The Well-Covered Dimension of a Graph", to the AKCE International Journal of Graphs and Combinatorics.


Dr. Carmen Caprau participated in the workshop, Swiss Knots 2011: Knot Theory and Algebra, in Switzerland between May 23-27, 2011.


Dr. Caprau and undergraduate student, James Tipton, submitted their research paper, "The Kauffman polynomial and trivalent graphs", to a refereed journal.


Dr. Lance Burger attended the Google Faculty Institute August 10-12 and was made a Google Faculty Fellow.


Five teams of undergraduate mathematics students were acknowledged in the Spring 2011 issue of the student mathematics journal, The Pentagon, for submitting correct solutions to journal problems. One team even had their solution published in the journal!

 

  Physics

Jonathan Roveto, Michael Duncan and Steve Wilburn at last year's Pacific Coast Gravity Meeting held in CalTech

Fresno State graduate student finds that Einstein's Equivalence Principle is violated by Quantum Mechanics:

Steve Wilburn, a Masters student in the Department of Physics, and his advisor Dr. Doug Singleton recently published an article in the premier physics journal, Physical Review Letters ("Hawking Radiation, Unruh Radiation and the Equivalence Principle" Phys. Rev. Letts. 107, 081102 (2011) showing that the quantum mechanical phenomenon of Hawking radiation violated Einstein's Equivalence Principle (EP). The EP is the conceptual basis for Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. Surprisingly, Steve's paper showed that EP was restored at the event horizon of black holes indicating that quantum mechanics and General Relativity may become more compatible in stronger
gravitational fields such as those near the event horizon of a black hole.  

 

 

International researchers visit the department of physics: During the 2010-2011 academic year several international researchers visited the Department of Physics at Fresno State. Dr. Ratbay Myrzakulov, the head of the theoretical physics division at Eurasian National University in Astana, Kazakhstan visited

Dr. Ratbay Myrzakulov (far left), Dr. Nattapong Yongram (second from the right, and host Dr. Doug Singleton (second from the left) on a trip to Yosemite national Park.

Fresno for one year (October 1, 2010 to September 31, 2011) on a Bolshak Grant from the Kazakh government. During this time, Dr. Myrzakulov conducted research in gravitational physics with Dr. Doug Singleton and his students. The collaboration led to a published paper with MS student, Mike Duncan, in the journal Physics Letters B ("Entropic derivation of F=ma for circular motion", Phys. Lett. B, 703, 516-518 (2011) M. Duncan, R. Myrzakulov and D. Singleton). Several of Dr. Myrzakulov's research students came to Fresno State. Olga Razina and Yerlan Myrzakulov, both PhD students at Eurasian National University, came for two-three month visits to work on their doctoral thesis research with Dr. Myrzakulov and Dr. Doug Singleton. Also during the spring semester of 2011, the Department of Physics hosted another international scholar. Dr. Nattapong Yongram, from Naresuan University in Thailand, came for a two month research visit from March 31, 2011 to May 31, 2011 on a Thai Government grant. Dr. Yongram conducted research in theoretical physics with Dr. Doug Singleton and his students.

 

 

Dr. Singleton (center top row) and his quantum mechanics II students on the campus of Hue University

Department of Physics professor teaches summer school course at the advanced physics school, Hue University, Vietnam:

 

During the summer of 2011, Dr. Doug Singleton taught the second half of the undergraduate quantum mechanics course to a group of students in the advanced physics program at Hue University in Hue, Vietnam. The advanced physics program is a collaboration between Hue University and the University of Virginia which brings physics faculty from the US to Hue to teach intensive summer courses in topics and areas not covered during the regular semester.

In addition to teaching quantum mechanics, Dr. Singleton took part in the BCVSPIN 2011 conference held at Hue University during the last week of July. 

     

Psychology

The Department of Psychology is privileged to be able to work with two excellent staff:  Sheri Osborn (Departmental Administrative Assistant), and Liliana Oceguera (Administrative Support Assistant II).  These paragons of acumen, efficiency, and tact were feted with a Psychology department cupcake celebration on Administrative Assistants' Day.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brooke Okada (left), Lorin Lachs (right)

Dr. Lorin Lachs and the Fresno Language/Behavior Laboratory recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the effects of visual phonetic similarity on audiovisual spoken word recognition. The proposed research will accomplish two goals: first, a publicly accessible computational tool will be built to facilitate computational and experimental investigations of visual lexical similarity. Second, several behavioral experiments will use the tool to test hypotheses about the role of visual information in speech perception. This project will advance our understanding of the basic mechanisms involved in spoken word recognition. Such knowledge will be useful for clinicians working with deaf or hearing-impaired populations, and for engineers working on problems in automatic speech recognition.

 

Joy Ewart
Joy Ewart (left), Adrian Cortez (right)
Jessica Dao

 

Just a sampling of faculty presentations in the Spring:

 

Guerra, B. L. & Adams, A.N. (2010, May). Using behavioral treatments to improve healthy lifestyle habits in school children. Paper presented at the 36th Annual Association for Behavior Analysis Convention, San Antonio, TX.

 

Yaugher, A. C., Edmondson, C.B., & Skrapec, C. (2011, March).  Exploring impulsivity and inhibition in individuals with traits of intermittent explosive disorder and psychopathy.  Poster presented at the Western Psychological Association Conference, San Diego, CA

             

Bunden, M., Jimenez, D., & Ivie, J. L. (2011, May). Fresno State and the GRE: Helping increase scores of students. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Los Angeles, CA.

 

Persicke, A.,Adams, A., Barcellos, A., Yeager, T., Jackson, M., & Amomonpon, R. (2001, March). Effective teaching strategies for children with autism. Symposium presented at the 29th Regional Conference for the California Association for Behavior Analysis, Burlingame, CA.

 

Okada, B., Boone, B., & Lachs, L. (2011, March). The modalities and intervallic relationships in agreeable and disagreeable dyadic conversation. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Los Angeles, CA.

 

Hagy, G., Fabros, M., Levine, R., Verma, J., & O'Leary, V. (2011, May). Consistency of self-perspective across four countries. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Los Angeles, CA.

 

Fairchild, A., & Price, P. C.  (2011, April).  Ratios and risk perception: Role of denominator neglect in the ratio bias.  Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Los Angeles, CA.

 

Shapiro, M. (2011, April). Risk-sensitive foraging: The effect of joint variability in different reward dimensions.  International Conference of Comparative Cognition, Melbourne, Florida. 

 

Sharps, M.J., & Newborg, E. (2011, April).  Eyewitness memory and "paranormal" sightings: The role of individual differences.  Presented at the annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Los Angeles, CA.

 

 

Faculty publications for the 2010/2011 AY:

 

Adams, A.N. (2010). Autism: pieces of the puzzle. Valley Health Magazine, Mar/Apr. p.13- 19.

Jones, C. (2010). Archival data:  Advantages and disadvantages for research in psychology. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 4, 1008-1017.

 

Mortimer, A. (2010). Mental health response to acute stress following wilderness disaster. Wilderness and Environmental Medicine, 21, 337-344.

 

Sharps, M.J., Newborg, E., Van Arsdall, S., DeRuiter, J., Hayward, B., & Alcantar, B. (2010).  Paranormal encounters as eyewitness phenomena: Psychological determinants of atypical perceptual interpretations.  Current Psychology, 29, 320-327.

 

Sharps, M.J., & Hess, A.B. (2010).   Ecocognition: Decision and understanding in environmental context.  ReVisions, 31, 85-89.

 

Wilhite, C. (2011). Positive parenting: A behavioral approach to parenting children with special needs. Ahwahnee, CA: Rivergate Press.

 

Yockey, R. (2011). SPSS demystified: A step-by-step guide to successful data analysis (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:  Prentice-Hall.

 

 

Psychology department representatives at the Fresno State Library Awards for Outstanding Faculty Publications:

 

Article:  Jones, C., & Peskin, H. (2010). Psychological health from the tens to the 80s:  Multiple developmental trajectories.  Journal of Adult Development, 17, 20-32.

 

Book:  Sharps, M.J. (2010).  Processing under pressure: Stress, memory, and decision-making in law enforcement.  Flushing, NY: Looseleaf Law.    

  

 

 
Alumni News 
 

Mark Gilmore

  

Computer Science alums (1991) Mark Gilmore and Charlie Hunter

recently participated in a "Lunch & Learn" event to talk to current Computer Science students about trends within the field and future job prospects.  The session was quite a success as students were able to spend much oCharlie Hunterf the afternoon with Mark and Charlie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Dean Andrew Hoff

  

Interim Dean Andrew Hoff poses with a sea lion at Fresno's Chaffee Zoo.  Dr. Hoff, Interim Associate Dean Rick Zechman, and Development Director Kent Karsevar were at the zoo to discuss collaborative partnerships. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Other News

Left to right are : Joel Ramirez, Tigon Abalos, Cynthia Contrares, Kenya Covarrubias, Joesph Oloo, Monica Gonzalez. Back Row, left to right are : Dr. Jason Bush, Miguel Ramos, Rosendo Iniquez.

The first cohort of eight Cancer Scholar students recently returned from La Jolla, CA after completing an intensive 8-week summer laboratory research experience.  The Cancer Scholar program is funded by a $1.2 million NCI-sponsored partnership grant between Fresno State and the Cancer Center at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, CA.  As part of the grant, two regional projects are being pursued:  1) The relationship between pesticide exposure and breast cancer with focus on Latina farmworkers, and 2) Early diagnostic markers of pancreatic cancer.  The grant provides opportunities for minority undergraduate and graduate students to spend a paid summer in the San Diego-area research institute where they get immersed in host laboratories focused on cancer research issues.  The goals of the partnership are to enhance cancer research potential at Fresno State (a minority serving institution), train groups of undergraduate and graduate students at a world-class research institute for future careers in cancer research, and track students to evaluate program progress.  Additionally, the Central Valley Health Policy Institute (CVHPI) provided resources for student research, training and community outreach in cancer health disparities projects.  The partnership combines the strengths of all three institutions in offering cancer biology education, research and training in the Fresno State curricula.  The grant Co-author and Program Coordinator, Dr. Jason Bush, of the Department of Biology, says that he couldn't be happier with the success of the first crop of students.  He says, "The host laboratories at Sanford-Burnham were thoroughly impressed by the quality of Fresno State students that we sent to them.  We had high expectations and each student surpassed those expectations outstandingly." This year's cohort worked on projects from "rational drug design" to "effectors of cancer cell death" to "protein turnover in cancer cell models".

 

Please visit http://fresnostatecancerresearch.org/ for additional information regarding the program.Visit the student's bios to read more about each of the current scholars, what they have accomplished and about their future research plans. 

 

METRO Outreach Touches Local Teachers

and Students

 

July 11-15, 2011 METRO held a five day summer camp for 16 middle and high school students from local schools throughout the Fresno, Sanger, and Clovis area.  The theme of the event was "Time Travel Planet Earth".  It was built around studying the adaption of life to the changing landscapes and climate of the planet.  The camp concluded with a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  

 

July 15-22, 2011 held a six day teacher workshop that mirrored the topics covered in the middle and high school camp.  The focus of the workshop was to provide teachers with materials and activities to incorporate key scientific ideas into the classroom.  Teachers were provided with electronic copies of the materials used in the course.  In addition to visiting Monterey Bay Aquarium, teachers also visited the Fairmead Fossil Discovery Center, where METRO faculty and students have been involved with the excavation of an important Pleistocene fossil site. 

 

The student summer camp and teacher workshop will be offered summer 2012.  Details will be listed on http://geosciencesmetro.csufresno.edu/ 

 













 

 

 

Science and Health Careers Information Center Holds 2nd Annual Open House

 

College of Science and Mathematics student clubs and programs gathered in the Science I lobby for the 2nd Annual Science and Health Careers Information Center Open House, on September 7, 2011. The Open House drew a crowd of students during the morning event, which coincided with "Fresno State Welcome 2011". CSM student club representatives met with new, transfer, and returning students, promoted their clubs, and recruited new members for the 2011-2012 academic year. Brannon Lozano, a junior Psychology major and Psi Chi webmaster (http://psych.csufresno.edu/psichi/), reported, "It was nice to be able to get Psi Chi's name out there. Some students who signed up said that they had always wanted to get involved, but had just never taken the time to get information about our club.  It was a great way for us to make the information available to them." CSM Program representatives were also on hand to advise students about the study and research opportunities in the fields of science and health offered by the College of Science and Mathematics, California State University, Fresno.

 

For a complete listing of all CSM student clubs, CSM special programs and degrees and, a complete list of the SHCIC, Fall 2011 Workshops and Events, please go to www.csufresno.edu/shcic or, contact the Science and Health Careers Information Center at 559.278.4150.

 

 




Science and Mathematics Education Center News
The Science and Mathematics Education Center (SMEC) sponsored 13 students as summer research interns this past summer. Eight of the students were placed through the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program based at CalPoly. SMEC was able to provide funding for each of the STAR Interns through funds obtained from a National Science Foundation supplement to one of SMEC's NSF grants. These students were located throughout California with one on the East Coast. The remaining five students were placed at Fresno State in the labs of Dr. Alejandro Calderone and the program was entitled the Science Research Internship (SRI) program. The Fresno State CSMA students were engaged in a range of research experiences. Topics and sites are included below:

SMEC studentDOE students
                                                                                                                                                         

Project Description: The goal of the project was to design, build, test, and place on the Moon a Micro  Rover that could be controlled remotely and that will eventually return pictures and data back to Earth. Site: NASA Ames Research Center.  STAR Fellow: Daniel Ruiz

Project description: Prolonging Vacuum Jacket Affectivity
The goal of the project was to keep a vacuum jacket effective over a long period of time. Materials in that vacuum must emit no species that cannot be collected by a material that is also in the vacuum to sequester gases (called a getter). The project involved the identification of chemical species that evolve from materials heated in a vacuum. The mass spectrum of the evolved species is collected as temperature is increased (Thermal Desorption Spectroscopy, or TDS). This is followed searching this series of spectra to identify the peaks that correspond to the masses of fragments of the molecules that were in the vacuum at any given time and temperature. The research team worked on developing a process to interpret the TDS experiments using commercially available software, a process that others have used to identify x-ray spectra from an image, and chemical intuition.
Site: Sandia National Lab. STAR Fellow: Brad Powers

Project Description: Coupled Hydrological and Ecological Processes in Mountain Forests
This summer internship program had two components. The first focused on exposing the STAR Fellow
 to JPL research in the area of terrestrial hydrology and ecology. The second was aimed at curriculum development in this area - leveraging the research intern's exposure toward pedagogical applications.
Site: Jet Propulsion Lab. STAR Fellow: Jordan Anderson

Project Description: Marine Research
This research involved conducting experiments in local fouling communities on space competitive abilities between native and non-native marine invertebrates and determination of
settlement rates of marine invertebrates in comparison to hydrodynamic variables in SF Bay, The project also involved habitat partitioning in local intertidal sea star populations and species.
Site: Romberg Tiburon Center.  STAR Fellow: Garrett Benjamin

Project Description: Marine Research
This research involved conducting experiments in local fouling communities on space competitive abilities between native and non-native marine invertebrates and determination of
settlement rates of marine invertebrates in comparison to hydrodynamic variables in SF Bay, The project also involved habitat partitioning in local intertidal sea star populations and species.
Site:Tiburon Research Center.    STAR Fellow: Damion Delton

Project Description: Observation-based Estimation of Evapotranspiration Over the United States During the 20th Century.
The objective of this ongoing project was to examine long term precipitation, runoff, ground recharge and vegetation data from the 20th century and assess whether or not there is a relationship between vegetation density, precipitation and runoff over regions of the continental United States. This result will provide observational evidence that vegetation is responding to changes in climate and may constitute an important feedback mechanism to climate.
Site: Goodard Space Flight Center.  STAR Fellow: Robyn Williams

Project Description: Software Development for Fiber Optic Interrogation System
The project involved the development of software that will interface the  Center's newly developed eight fiber optic interrogation system(s) to IADS (by Symvionics) in support of the wing testing of Global Observer within the Flight Loads Lab (FLL). This testing will include three fiber optic interrogation
Site: Edwards Air Force Base-Dryden Flight Research Center. STAR Fellow: Kaitlyn Fiechtner

Project Description: Formaldehyde and Volatile Organic Compounds in New U.S. Residences - Impacts of Ventilation Rates, Low-emitting Products, and Energy-efficient Ventilation System.
The Energy Performance of Buildings (EPB) group at LBNL is actively collecting information on residents' exposure to chemical contaminants. In particular, we are interested to collect information on Formaldehyde exposure, which is a suspect carcinogen found almost ubiquitously indoors. The research study is designed to better understand the potential impacts of ventilation rates on the exposure levels in conjunction with the application of new building materials with low emission verification or certification. In addition, we are also investigating the role of the energy-recovery ventilation system to control indoor chemicals levels. The intern was involved in the preparation activities for field air sampling and laboratory experiments and was trained and involved in air samples collection and assisting in samples processing/ analysis.
Site: Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.     STAR Fellow: Thuy Nguyen

Project description: Effectiveness of chalcones on plant parasitic nematodes
Nematodes are roundworms that can be either free living or parasitic. The parasitic nematodes are found all over the world living in moist environments that include plant and animal tissues. Plant pathogenic nematodes can devastate agriculture and the most common solution to date has been to use the common fumigant methyl bromide, however this compound accumulates in the upper atmosphere and can contribute to depletion of the ozone. In this project we will use a set of eight organic Chalcones that were synthesized by Dr. Attar (chemistry) and Dr. Calderon-Urrea (biology) at Fresno State. We will test these compounds to determine their nematicidal activity on the plant parasitic nematode, Meloidogyne incognita. From this study, we may find an alternative chemical that will effectively eliminate parasitic nematodes in tomato plants.
Site: Fresno State College of Science & Mathematics ACU Lab.  SRI Fellow: Keri Ponce

Project Description: Effectiveness of chalcones on the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans
The research project focused on the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, a parasite commonly found in humans and animals. I will study their response to eight organic compounds (Chalcones) that were synthesized by Dr. Attar of the Chemistry department and Dr. Calderon-Urrea of the Biology department at CSU Fresno. Our procedure involves testing these compounds on two different species of nematodes, in which I will focus specifically on C. elegans. The goal of the study is to discover an alternative chemical solution for eliminating parasitic nematodes.
Site: Fresno State College of Science & Mathematics ACU Lab.  SRI Fellow: Marc Serrano

Project Description: Are chalcones damaging to the natural micro-organism flora of the soil?
This research project involved collection of soil samples and the extraction of  microorganisms by whishing the soil with distilled water. The extract was exposed to distilled water as a negative control and to the different chalcones. "If our hypothesis is correct and the chalcones are only effective against nematodes, we will see the same type of microorganisms grow in both treatments: distilled water vs. chalcones."
Site: Fresno State College of Science & Mathematics ACU Lab.  SRI Fellow: Jacqueline Hill

Project description: Impact of Micro Algae on Amount of Organic Matter in Agricultural Wastewater.
The San Joaquin Central Valley has many agricultural industries (such as fruit juice and dairy industries), that utilize farm equipment which is increasingly costly to operate due to the increased cost of fossil fuels. These industries also use extensive amounts of water, which is also in short supply, that require extensive clean up before discharge. We envision local farms able to reduce fuel cost associated with farm operations while reducing the amount of organic matter of their wastewater, by utilizing different strains of micro algae. This project involved testing the ability of three oil producing algae (Chlorella vulgaris, Neochloris oleoabundans and Scenedesmus dimorphus) in different concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK).
Site: Fresno State College of Science & Mathematics ACU Lab.  SRI Fellows: Jacky Flint & Ashley Avina

The purpose of the eight week research internships is to make it possible for students majoring in the Natural Sciences Degree program to have science research experience prior to entering the career of teaching in either middle or high school classrooms in the region. One SRI Fellow Ms. Jacqueline Hill commented on her summer research experience "I had a wonderful experience doing research on nematodes with Dr. Calderon-Urrea and his lab team. This research allowed me to live the life of a true scientist by working with cutting-edge tools, conducting experiments, and collaborating with other researchers. I will take this experience with me to the classroom, as I have learned the importance of communicating with your peers to generate ideas. Working in a lab environment has given me so much more insight on what real science is, and now I can show my students, instead of just telling them, that science doesn't come out of a textbook." SMEC plans to increase support through NSF funding of future summer research internships for our College of Science and Mathematics math or science majors who plan to enter a career in the K-12 science or math classroom.
Jamie
Fresno State's Noyce Teaching Fellows Program

In addition to the summer research programs, two of SMEC's Noyce Teaching Fellows, Vanessa Tucker and Jamie Vargas conducted poster presentations on their research projects and on the Fresno State Noyce Teaching Fellows program, now in its third year of operation. Their presentations were part of the Annual Noyce P.I. Meeting in Washington, DC held in July, 2011. The six-year project provides programmatic and financial support for students to complete a masters degree in any one of the sciences or in mathematics coupled with completion of the Single Subject Science Credential Program.
The program known as FRESTEF (Fresno State Teaching Fellows) program has 18 FRESTEF Fellows supported by the National Science Foundation. FRESTEF Fellows are expected to teach for four years in high needs science or math classrooms as part of their obligation having received funding support.