11th Annual Student Research Symposium

The 11th Annual Student Research Symposium took place in Richter Hall on Saturday, Oct. 18.

The event consisted of students presenting their summer research projects to family, friends, professors and guests. Dr. Joan Griffin, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences kicked off the day, welcoming everyone to the event. After her, Dr. Marylie Gerson, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship program, OURSC, gave an overview of the day’s events.

Dr. Griffin then presented awards to students who showcased leadership, dedication and excellence. Presented with awards for leadership were Carla De Lira and Alicia Vanessa Nunez. Salvador I. Brito, Su Ji Hong and Sharena Rice were presented with awards for their dedication and excellence.

Next on the agenda were the oral presentations from students Brittany Smolarski, Jacob S. Burman, Jared Berman, Luis Patricio Burgos, Danielle Renee Montoya, and Marina Marisela Alvarez. Each student researcher gave an in-depth overview of their research.

From research on the synthetic applications of the diazoalkane-carbonyl homologation reaction to a presentation on the research of Latinas in the Los Angeles street art culture, each presentation showcased the vast array of research being done at California Lutheran University each summer.

According to the event’s program, students represented “a variety of disciplines, including biology, chemistry, computer science, exercise science, languages and cultures, mathematics, psychology and religion.”

After the oral presentations, the audience moved to the atrium of the Ahmanson Science Center for an interactive poster session with all students that completed research over the summer.

Many students chose their summer research projects based on personal connection to their topics. Marina Marisela Alvarez, whose research was on Latinas in the Los Angeles street art culture, said during her oral presentation that she was drawn to street art when she studied abroad in Argentina.

Junior biochemistry major Tristen Burt chose his research project, The Analysis of Gene Sequences in Canine Tumors, based on the effects cancer has had on his family in the past.“My family has come from a history of cancer. I have a lot of family members that I’ve lost to cancer. It [also] goes along with CLU’s mission to discover your passion. What you’re passionate about is really what drives all of us here at the Student Research Symposium,” Burt said.

Other students picked their topics because of interest sparked by taking courses at Cal Lutheran. Tyler Berg, a senior exercise science major completed his summer research on The Effects of Landing Direction and Gender on Lower Extremity Kinetics in Drop Landings.

After taking a biomechanics course at Cal Lutheran in the spring of 2013, Berg wanted to get a more in-depth look.

“I took biomechanics last semester with Dr. LeBlanc, and it was just one subject that I really clicked with. I approached her more toward the end of the semester and said “hey, do you need help this summer performing research?” and luckily I was able to perform some of this research with her over the summer,” Berg said.

Although students found a lot of success in their research, the process was not always an easy one.

Senior Biology major Jared Berman researched The Effects of SOCS36E on JAK/STAT Signaling and Extra Eye Penetrance in Drosophila melanogaster, a study on eye mutations of fruit flies. Berman explained how the research process was for him.

“I think the most difficult aspect of research in general is that you get this whole plan together and you think you know what you are going to do, and when you actually start, reality hits and everything changes,” Berman said.

For more information on student research and the OURSC program, go to callutheran.edu/our.


Natalie Kalamdarya

Staff Writer

Published October 22, 2014