Cal State East Bay's CSU Research Competition team, from left: Bryan Brandow, Adithya Chandregowda, Susan Ingram, Sarah Nielson, Khaldeyah Awwad, Carl Bellone, Lori Walker, Anna Desai, Nyles Harris and Eric Bahr. (Photo: Adithya Chandregowda)
Graduate student Bryan Brandow won a first place award at the 23rd Annual CSU Research Competition for his project investigating bilingual Bay Area students who excel in public schools despite coming from non-English speaking, low income households.
“Winning my division was a thrilling experience and a great way to end my graduate studies,” said Brandow, who is earning a master’s degree in education at CSUEB. “More importantly, it gave a voice to a group of families that are succeeding despite all the odds.”
His presentation “Cultural Transmission of Latino Families: Bridging the Achievement Gap” won in the education category.
Brandow’s research revealed that students he studied lived on a “virtual cultural island,” because their parents were undocumented immigrants who spoke limited English and had been segregated from mainstream American society. The theoretical island created an environment where families could pass on a modified version of their culture to their children.
“As children mastered their native culture, they developed skills and strategies that increased their capacity to learn,” Brandow said. “By maintaining their cultural heritage, students actually increase their intelligence and are able to bridge the achievement gap.”
The competition is held each spring to promote excellence in undergraduate and graduate scholarly research and creative activity by recognizing outstanding student accomplishments throughout the 23 CSU campuses. This year, the competition was held May 1 and 2 at California State University, Los Angeles.
Each school is allowed to submit 10 student presentations. Eight Cal State East Bay students entered five categories. The competition categories include Behavioral and Social Sciences; Biological and Agricultural Sciences; Business, Economics and Public Administration; Creative Arts and Design; Education, Engineering and Computer Science; Health, Nutrition and Clinical Sciences; Humanities and Letters; Physical and Mathematical Sciences; and Interdisciplinary.
Undergraduate or graduate students currently enrolled at a CSU campus, as well as alumni who received their degrees in spring, summer or fall 2008, were eligible to participate.
Students make oral presentations before juries of professional experts from major corporations, public agencies, colleges and universities throughout the state. Judging is based on the presenter’s ability to handle questions from the jury and the general audience. Additionally, presenters are judged on the ability to explain their research or creative activity, organization of the material presented, the research value, appropriateness of methodology and clarity of purpose.
“Even if they’ve done good research, if they can’t present it to the jurors in an effective way, they won’t be successful,” said Carl Bellone, associate vice president for the Department of Academic Programs and Graduate Studies. “Regardless if students win or lose, it’s a great experience for students to present in a professional research atmosphere.”
Other CSUEB student presenters and their fields of study were: undergrads Eric Bahr, physics, and Lori Walker, human development; and graduate students Khaldeyah Awwad, chemistry; Adithya Chandregowda, speech pathology and audiology; Anna Desai, chemistry; Nyles Harris, engineering management; and Susan Ingram, sociology.