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PROUD Publications

CSU-LSAMP PROUD is the new annual online publication of the California State University Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation. This publication features outstanding students from throughout our Alliance, who are being recognized in our new Program Recognizing Outstanding Undergraduate Distinction (PROUD). These PROUD scholars have distinguished themselves in many ways: through their academic achievements, research experiences, service to their campuses and communities, post-graduation achievements, and through their compelling personal stories.

Proud Nominees 2017

Outstanding Focus & Drive

Anthony Salvato, Biological Science

Anthony Salvato is a gregarious and highly determined double-major in Biological Sciences (concentration in cell and molecular biology) and Biochemistry. Upon speaking with him about his future goals, what becomes overwhelmingly clear is his academic and research focus and drive. He began his college career as a freshman at CSUEB in Fall of 2012. Early on, Anthony valued his education and put forth great effort towards his coursework, however, did not reach true clarity and focus in his educational pursuits until the end of his sophomore year, when he was encouraged by a faculty mentor, Dr. Nazzy Pakpour, to become involved in research. In 2015, Anthony worked alongside Dr. Pakpour and several other undergraduate and graduate students to start up a brand new research lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at CSUEB. This venture involved months of intense planning and discussion, including several visits to see Dr. Pakpour’s colleague, Dr. Chiu at UC Davis, to gather further information on potential laboratory designs. The process of conceptualizing and outfitting a research laboratory helped Anthony refine his purpose and develop personal agency toward his education, as well as fueling Anthony’s curiosity and desire to engage in authentic and meaningful research. Since then, Anthony has presented his LSAMP-funded research on the feeding behaviors of Drosophila suzukii at several conferences.  This innovative work identified a potential mechanism, via examination of inhibition in D. melanogaster, by which to attenuate D. suzukii reproduction rates. Anthony and his research team plan to continue this research and to publish their findings in the near future. He now aspires to a career in regenerative medicine, and plans to pursue a Ph.D. following completion of his undergraduate degree. 

Outstanding Academics & Passion for Learning

David Robles, Biochemistry

David Robles, a CSUEB junior and first-generation college student, is perhaps best described as a passionate life-long learner. Although he began his college degree pursuit mostly in response to strong encouragement from his dad, the biochemistry major, who excelled academically throughout high school and now, during his time at CSUEB (cumulative GPAs of 3.71 and 3.86, respectively) attributes his academic success to high and focused effort towards his coursework, but more importantly, to his passion to learn and explore complex and meaningful concepts, mechanisms, and relationships within and beyond our current scientific knowledge base. David is committed to living a meaningful life, and is academically motivated by an inherent desire to further knowledge in our scientific community. He notes that “life is not all about making money” and proclaims that, “you can’t buy knowledge”. Currently, David’s LSAMP work is being conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Ruth Tinnacher, and in strong collaboration with researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. David is examining the rates and degree of biodegradation of various organic carbon compounds in solution. This work also served as intense preparation for his recent summer research internship with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. David is planning on pursuing a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences or Environmental Chemistry, as he finds interdisciplinary science the most exciting and challenging.   

Outstanding Perseverance and Passion for Research

Anthony Luu, Biochemistry

Anthony Luu, who was raised by a single mother-of-two who spent much of her time working countless hours to support her sons, did not think he was cut out for college. Anthony began as a freshman at CSUEB in Fall 2012, following encouragement from his step-dad. Early on, Anthony struggled in college. He decided that college wasn’t for him, and decided to enter the workforce. This experience was unsatisfying. Anthony decided to return to college, and this time around, was motivated to focus on success and to find a discipline in which he was passionate. During his freshman and sophomore years, Anthony switched majors five times! He ultimately found enjoyment in the natural sciences, so much so, that he chose to double major in Biological Sciences (concentration in cell and molecular biology) and Biochemistry. Towards the end of his sophomore year, Anthony, who was attracted to the apparent self-reliance and autonomy of being a researcher, sought out a research opportunity in Dr. Marlin Halim’s laboratory. He was not successful in gaining a research assistant position that year, but took the failure in stride; he used it to motivate himself to work even harder on his coursework, to show Dr. Halim that he had potential as a researcher. The following year, Dr. Halim approached Anthony and invited him to join her lab. Since then, Anthony has been passionately engaged in research at CSUEB. He has presented his LSAMP-funded research, focused on identifying an aptamer that can bind to alpha-D-galactose-1-phospate, at several conferences and competitions. Anthony notes that he is highly driven for research given the challenge of solving difficult real-world problems and the freedom to express creativity and innovation in doing so. He plans to pursue a graduate degree in biological sciences or biochemistry, and aspires to become a full-time researcher. 

Outstanding Perseverance, Passion for Education & Service

Linda Beverly, Mathematics

Linda Beverly, a first-generation college student, was a highly accomplished rower. However, her passion for education superseded her athletic pursuits, evidenced by her decision to not pursue an offer from the US Olympic Development Program so she could attend college and focus on her studies. With that said, college success did not come easily for Linda. Despite being a successful student in high school, Linda struggled to find her academic identity, early on. Over her college career, which included 4-year colleges, community college, and online college enrollments, Linda dabbled in five different majors, and even, as she puts it, “accidentally” finished an Associates’ Degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences! Despite earning a degree, Linda did not feel satisfied; deep down, she knew her educational passion had not yet been identified. She persisted, and following a several-year hiatus from college, and a few more years at Mission Community College working diligently to improve her GPA, she finally earned enrollment at CSUEB in Fall 2014. The now double major (Math and Computer Science) is finding her groove at East Bay. Working under the mentorship of Dr. Shirley Yap, Linda’s LSAMP work analyzes various geometric dimensionality reduction algorithms. She has presented her work at several local, regional, and national conferences, and plans to continue her machine learning research, expanding into examination of neural networks and deep learning image recognition. Along the way, Linda has blazed a trail for CSUEB women in in mathematics, founding student chapters of the Association for Women in Mathematics as well as the Association for Computing Machinery-Women. Moreover, she rejuvenated the CSUEB Recreational Math and Computer Science Club, growing the membership from two to over 140 members. Linda notes that “knowledge is brain food”, and hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics with the goal of becoming a researcher.

Proud Nominees 2016

Outstanding Alumna & Academic

Tracy Chen, Chemistry

Tracy Chan majored in Chemistry at California State University, East Bay and graduated Summa cum Laude in Spring 2016 with a 3.9 GPA. As a first generation college student, she was the first in her family to graduate from college and will be the first to ultimately earn a graduate degree. Tracy has been accepted into doctoral programs at six different universities and will be pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Illinois starting Fall 2016. In addition, Tracy has been very active working with Dr. Marlin Halim at CSUEB on developing an imaging tool for small organic molecules. Her research focused on developing a galactosemia home detection kit that would be used to diagnose and monitor potentially toxic levels of galactose in people that lack the enzyme to metabolize the sugar. Her mentor Dr. Halim says that Tracy is a “highly dedicated and self-motivated scientist who, during her time in our laboratory, has worked on a new project and advanced it to the final stages.” Tracy credits her academic success and achievement in research to her LSAMP faculty mentor Dr. Marlin Halim who provided academic support and advising. She said that her relationship with her mentor was a great experience and helped Tracy to consider her options and ultimately led to her decision to pursue a graduate degree. Tracy’s career goal is to work in industry as a research scientist in the development of new drugs and diagnostic tools.
Outstanding Academic & Research

Drew York, Geology

Drew York is a major in Geology with minor in Mathematics. Drew con - ducts research in Dr. Jeffery Seitz’s Molecular Astrobiology Laboratory. The research focuses on experimentally determining the volumetric properties of aqueous solutions of organic molecules and biomolecules at hydrothermal conditions with applications to developing a chemical model for the origin of life on Earth and other solar system bodies. The results of their research have been presented at two international conferences. In addition, Drew’s research team is currently working on a manuscript on the amino acid glycine for submission to the Journal of Chemical Thermo - dynamics. His mentor, Dr. Seitz, says that “Drew is a brilliant and dedicated student.” During Summer 2015, Drew participated in the CSU-LSAMP international research program at Chiang Mai University in Thailand where he collaborated on a project that studied flow modeling of groundwater in the Chiang Mai basin. Drew says that this was a significant life event where he was able to experience a different culture and was immersed in the academic and research culture at a different university. More recently, Drew received an internship at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he is collaborating in a group studying flow and transport modeling across activated carbon units to investigate the efficiency of a groundwater reme - diation technology. Drew credits his participation in research for putting him on his career path and helping him apply his coursework in a meaning - ful way. Financial support from the program enabled him to stay in school and focus on research.
Outstanding Research & Service/Leadership

Alexander Penaflor, Physics

Alex Penaflor is a transfer student from Guam where he was born and raised. Currently, Alex is a Physics major with a minor in Mathematics at California State University, East Bay and has applied to a Ph.D. bridge program at Columbia University. In the laboratory of his mentor, Dr. Jennie Guzman, Alex has been very active in helping in the development of a magneto-optical trap to test the spin-statistics theorem. Under the mentorship of Dr. Guzman, Alex has gained valuable practical experience in optics, lasers, programming and electronics that he would not be able to get in his coursework. He believes that his experiences have helped to prepare him to pursue graduate studies and, ultimately, a career in industry. Alex presented the results of his research at the American Physical Society Far West Section meeting at CSU Long Beach in 2015. Alex has been very active in community service, giving back to help other students. For example, Alex has been a tutor for mathematics, including differential equations and multivariable calculus, for over three years at the Student Center for Academic Achievement at CSUEB. Alex admits that he did not do well in mathematics in High School and now enjoys providing encouragement for other students in math courses and helping to show them that they can succeed. In addition, Alex helped to establish the Society of Physics Students at CSUEB and currently serves as its President. One accomplishment that he is particularly proud of is the establishment of “study lockdowns” that are organized study events that incorporate peer mentoring and tutoring in Physics, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Outstanding Alumna &All-Around Student

Emily Nguyen, Biological Sciences

Emily Nguyen, a Biological Sciences major with a Chemistry minor, has been an active researcher with Drs. James Murray and Chris Baysdorfer in the Department of Biological Sciences. The LSAMP program provided her with a scholarship that helped her to stay in school, and a research supply grant that supported her project. The main objective of Emily’s research is to quantify gene expression in sea slugs. She isolated RNA from sensory organs of sea slugs and, after conversion to cDNA, sequenced the samples using Next-Generation Sequencing technology. Her involvement in research provided her with invaluable skills and experience with techniques such as sequencing and PCR. Her mentor indicated that the “level of technical expertise is almost unheard of in an undergraduate and indicates how truly exceptional she is.” Emily states that she “learned to adopt a more inquisitive approach that relies on critical thinking, an attribute most companies are looking for in hiring new recruits.” Emily hopes to work in biotech or as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist. In addition to her research achievement, Emily has excelled in her coursework and maintained a 3.7 GPA. Lastly, Emily has been active in service to her community. She volunteers as a tutor for students taking microbiology and in the Biology Department where she supports instruction by preparing media and inoculating samples for lab courses. Emily also volunteers at Good Samaritan Hospital where she interacts with patients in the cardiology department and makes rounds to check on patient comfort. Emily graduated in June 2016.

Proud Nominees 2015

Outstanding Academic

Alma Ceja, Biological Sciences

Alma Ceja began her academic career as a Theater and Nursing double major at CSU Bakersfield. She quickly changed her major to Biology and transferred to CSUEB in 2013. She graduated magna cum laude in June 2015 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. As an undergraduate, Alma participated in research with her faculty mentor, Dr. Tyler Evans, regarding the effects of climate change on zebra fish physiology. Alma will begin her graduate studies in Marine Biology at San Francisco State University during fall 2015. Alma’s interest in biology began when she was a child in Monterey, CA where she was fascinated by marine life. Her parents are immigrants from Mexico and Alma finds it interesting that she learned English in school at the same time as her parents.
She comes from a large family with a stay-at-home mother and a father that has worked very hard since he was young. Alma is the first in her family to attend college and her parents are very proud of her achievement. Alma has been a volunteer at the Marine Mammal Center where she helps prepare food and clean animal pens. She hopes to become an educational representative for the Marine Mammal Center soon so that she can share her love of marine biology with students. Eventually, Alma wants to earn her Ph.D. and become a biology professor in the California State University system.

Outstanding Academic

Osafanmwen Edogun, Biochemistry

Osafanmwen (Osa) Edogun was born in Nigeria and moved to the United States with his family when he was five years old. He enrolled at California State University, East Bay in Fall 2011 and graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in Biochemistry in June, 2015. Osa participated in research with his CSU-LSAMP research mentor, Dr. Marlin Halim, in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Their research concerned the development of a gadolinium-based MRI contrast agent. Osa worked on binding studies of gadolinium and determining analytical detection limits. Their research results are being refined for publication. Dr. Halim says that Osa has made significant contributions to the project and that he has become a valued colleague and friend to all of the other students in the lab. Osa is interested in pursuing a career in Pharmacology. After graduation, Osa plans to attend graduate school in a Pharmacy program with an emphasis in research. Osa was very active in service to the University community. In the Peer Mentor program at CSUEB, he had the opportunity to mentor and teach a year-long general studies course for freshmen alongside a faculty member. Osa described this as a “remarkable” opportunity that galvanized his desire to be involved on campus and help other students. Osa was an officer in the Pre-Pharmacy club, helping provide opportunities for students to prepare and enter graduate programs. Osa finds giving back and being a resource on campus fulfilling and loves to see people build communities and succeed together.

Outstanding Research & Service/Leadership

Aracely Cobos, Physics

Aracely Cobos has been interested in Mathematics since high school, but with her first physics course she realized that physics was the ideal discipline for her, blending science and math. Currently, Aracely is a sophomore Physics major at CSU East Bay. Under the direction of Dr. Jennie Guzman, who is her CSU-LSAMP faculty research mentor, Aracely is studying atomic physics. Dr. Guzman says that Aracely is a fantastic student both in class and in the lab. Aracely is helping to construct a magneto-optical trap for strontium atoms to test the Spin-Statistic theorem. She believes that her participation in research has helped to connect the concepts she is learning in her classes and is preparing her for graduate studies. Aracely plans to pursue a career in education or research in atomic physics and optics. Aracely is very active in her community and volunteers for the Hayward Chamber of Commerce. She credits her volunteer work with helping her to find her voice, network in the community, and an ability to connect with others. In High School, Aracely had an assignment where she had to write about a Latina role model in physics and found that there were very few women (especially Latina) in Physics. Now, looking for Latina role models in physics has become a personal interest. As she has begun to take more advanced courses, she finds that she is one of few women studying physics at the University. She hopes to encourage and empower other women to pursue STEM careers.

Outstanding Alumnus

Devin Schaefferkoetter, Biological Sciences

After Devin Schaefferkoetter graduated from the College of the Redwoods, he transferred to California State University, East Bay to study Biology. As an undergraduate, he participated in research through the CSU-LSAMP program with his research mentor, Dr. Tyler Evans, studying the relationship between habitat temperature and physiological processes in marine organisms. In Winter 2015, he completed the CSUEB Honors Program and graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Biology (emphasis in ecology and conservation) and with a minor in Chemistry. He entered the graduate program in Biology at CSUEB during spring 2015 and is studying the diversity of fungi in a native California coastal ecosystem. Devin credits his success in research and entrance to graduate school to the encouragement and support received from his CSU-LSAMP research mentor Dr. Evans. Devin’s undergraduate and graduate research relates to the effects of climate change on the biosphere that parallels his desire to be a field biologist. As an undergraduate, Devin was involved in activities such as the Golden Key International Honors Society and the Alchemist’s Club at CSUEB for chemistry students. Devin has been active in the community at CSUEB and served as a tutor in the CSUEB Student Center for Academic Achievement where he helped other students succeed in gateway courses for lower division science majors. Devin credits the CSU-LSAMP program for giving him the time and opportunity to participate in undergraduate research that has prepared him for success in graduate school and his future career in field biology.

Proud Nominees 2014

Outstanding Service/Leadership

Hendrix Erhahon, Biochemistry

Hendrix was born in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, and on March 26th 2014, became a US Citizen. He enrolled at CSUEB in Fall 2010, choosing CSUEB because his brother, Heinrich, went there, and because of the Biochemistry option. Hendrix did not pursue student research until introduced to it by Dr. Eric Helgren during his Physics 2701 class. After applying to the LSAMP program and being accepted, Hendrix immediately started working with Dr. Danika LeDuc and Mr. Ladley Tcheing on poplar proteins. Under their supervision, Hendrix was able to explore and create experimental procedures and/or carry out procedures to test the absorbency of the proteins. “This is so fun and fascinating as I get to explore and be creative and acquire more knowledge and learn from mistakes.”
Recently, Hendrix ran for ASI Board member as Director of Public Relations. Although he did not win this election, he was appointed as a Student Representative on the Internal Affairs Committee, Fairness Committee, and Programming Council. As a student representative, Hendrix has the opportunity to be the Student Coordinator for ‘al Fresco: The Fall Welcome Back Festival,’ where he was the co-host and contributed to the coordination and planning of the entire event. Due to his contribution with al Fresco, Hendrix very proudly received a personalize Thank You from the CSUEB President Leroy Morishita and immediately asked to be a student lead in the Homecoming Committee. For this event, Hendrix contributed in planning the activities during Homecoming Kickoff.

Outstanding Research

Lorrayne Serra, Biological Science

Lorrayne completed her lower division courses at local community colleges before transferring to Cal State East Bay in fall 2011. She graduated in the summer of 2014 as a Biology major (Cell and Molecular focus). Lorrayne met Dr. Maria Gallegos at the science festival at CSUEB during her first semester, volunteering to help showcase Dr. Gallegos’ glowing worms to the community. Throughout the day, Dr. Gallegos talked about her research with the public and Lorrayne peppered her with questions. By the end of the day, Dr. Gallegos invited Lorrayne to work in her research lab. Although she worried because she had not taken upper division biology classes or worked in a lab, she was very enthusiastic to learn and have hands-on lab experience. Dr. Gallegos helped Lorrayne develop skills and knowledge required for research. Lorrayne worked by Dr. Gallegos’ side full time for 10 weeks in summer 2012 on the Presidents’ Commission Scholar Award presented by the California State University, Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB). Lorrayne also was awarded a travel grant to LA last year to present a poster at the CSUPERB 25th symposium. A few months later in April of 2013, she presented another poster at the Bay Area Worms Meeting at UC Davis (BAWM). Last summer, she was awarded a travel grant from LSAMP to attend an international worm meeting at UCLA, and in February, she traveled to Washington, D.C. with a travel grant to present a poster at the Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in STEM.

Outstanding Alumna

Trinity Josh, Physics

The whole idea of using science to probe the unknown fascinated Trinity since early childhood and this is the reason why she became an experimental Physicist. After taking her first course in Physics, she realized how interested she was in the subject. Unfortunately, there were no physics research program in her home country of Nepal, but despite this, she kept towards her goal of pursuing a Ph.D. in the United States. Trinity started working in Dr. Derek Kimball’s frequency comb spectroscopy lab three years ago when the “frequency comb laser” was first installed. The focus of Trinity’s research was to use the rubidium atom to better understand two-photon direct frequency comb spectroscopy in room temperature atomic vapors. Trinity published her result in a paper in Physical Review A explaining the spectra as a function of repetition rate. She presented her research at the 2011 American Physical Society (APS) California-Nevada Section Meeting. She was honored to receive the Steven Chu Award for Best Experimental Research by an undergraduate at this conference. She also presented a poster on her research at the 2012 Women in Physics Conference, and at the 26th and 27th Annual CSU Student Research Competition. She presented at the 2012 APS Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (DAMOP) Meeting, and in the spring of 2013, Trinity received the 2013 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. Currently she is pursuing her Ph.D. in physics at UC Berkeley.

Outstanding Academic

Jeryln Swiatlowski, Physics

Jerlyn Swiatlowski came to CSU East Bay from Dublin High School in Dublin, California pursuing a B.S. degree in Physics. Jerlyn started research her sophomore year after asking Dr. Derek Jackson Kimball if she could join his Spin Gravity research. She stayed in this lab for a year and a half, in that time she presented their research at the 2011 APS Regional Conference and is also a coauthor on a paper. She then moved to Dr. Kimball’s Frequency Comb lab where she has presented their research at the 2013 Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics Conference (DAMOP) and has continued helping forward this research since. To figure out what area of research is right for her, she attended two summer internships. She attended the Summer of Applied Geophysical Experience in 2012 where she gained research experience in Geophysics. Her group presented their combined research at the 2012 American Geophysical Union Conference. Jerlyn also attended an internship, this past summer, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), where she conducted research in understanding basement faults in Southeastern Nebraska. She has presented her work twice, at a research symposium at UNL and at the 2013 GSA Annual meeting. She also gave a talk at the 2014 GSA North-Central Section Meeting and is writing a paper to be published. In these past 5 years, Jerlyn has maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.762 and a major GPA of 3.73. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Geophysics at the University of California, Riverside.

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