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 2022/23

Aa'ishah Riaz, Biology & Biochemistry

Aa’ishah Riaz is a double major in biology and biochemistry at Cal State East Bay and loves that studying these areas allows her to simplify the world around us by getting a better understanding of life and its processes. Aa’ishah notes she struggled academically, dating back to elementary school. She used to label herself as “not being the ideal student and perfect applicant for graduate school”. After much self-reflection, she made an intentional change to her selfbeliefs. She now believes she is more than just her grades, and no longer centers her self-worth on the numbers she achieves in the classroom. With this understanding, Aa’ishah has put in deliberate efforts to make the most of her time at Cal State East Bay and diversify her development experiences during her undergraduate career. 

She has been engaged in research for the last few years with Dr. Kathryn Hayes, working on a science education project since its inception. She presented a paper at the 2022 American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, the premier educational research conference. Their work was lauded by presentation attendees. Very few undergraduates attend this conference, and Aa’ishah was able to attend other presentations and participate in a full team research retreat. 

Aa’ishah is currently debating between becoming a cardiologist and pursuing a Ph.D. related to science education at the high school level to increase diversity in STEM. To future CSU-LSAMP students, Aa’ishah offers this piece of advice: “sometimes your life does not turn out the way you hoped. Instead, acknowledge the opportunities in front of you and go in with your best foot forward.”

Lisa Ouyang, Biological Sciences Minors: Chemistry & Psychology

Lisa Ouyang is a Biology major (Microbiology and Biomedical Lab Sciences) with minors in chemistry and psychology at Cal State East Bay. Growing up, Lisa’s parents stressed the importance of education and doing things outside of her comfort zone. This developed a love for learning and a curiosity about life. Her family attended many volunteer and community events, which exposed Lisa to different social, economic, and cultural backgrounds within her community. Later, she learned how prevalent diseases and illnesses were among the lower income, first generation, and immigrant families that were due to stress, restricted access, and barriers to better health choices. She decided she would pursue a field where she could contribute findings to create better, safer, and more affordable medical treatments. 

Research allows Lisa’s curiosity and wonders to run wild, to get hands-on experience, and to apply theoretical knowledge to real life. As a freshman, Lisa represented Cal State East Bay in the CSU Student Research Competition and placed first in her category. She was the only freshman from Cal State East Bay to ever place in this competition and did so in a category that included both undergraduate and graduate students. She followed up with another first-place finish at the same competition the following year and is the first author of a submitted review article. Lisa has presented her work at several conferences and meetings. She is also the President of the Women in STEM Club. 

Lisa plans to pursue a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences. Lisa’s advice to future LSAMP students: “choose something you love and stay consistent. There is not one road that is smooth.”

Proud Nominees 2021

Julian Davis, Physics

Julian Davis’ biggest challenge has been getting an education. Diagnosed with learning differences (LD), by 6th grade he couldn’t multiply or write a sentence. He fought for a change and started 7th grade at a school for LD students and, by 9th grade, he was learning algebra and writing essays. His high school biology teacher, Ms. Mele Santini, opened the world of science to him. He finished high school as class valedictorian. 

In September of 2016, Julian entered CSUEB as a Biological Sciences major and a year later, as part of the biological sciences coursework, he took a Newtonian physics course. Julian was so captivated by physics that he switched majors in the fall of 2018. Julian is currently working in collaboration with the ATLAS Radiation Simulation Working Group and CERN. The team uses ROOT and PYTHIA to generate histograms of simulated signals and background trying to account for unexpected radiation damage discovered when comparing ATLAS predictive modeling and actual experimentation. 

Julian plans to pursue a Ph.D. in physics. He hopes that one day he will be able to give back. Julian aspires to help others learn in the face of obstacles.

Natisha Prasad, Biological Sciences

Natisha Prasad found the Center for Student Research (CSR) and the CSU-LSAMP at Cal State East Bay program in her sophomore year. In the CSR, Natisha quickly rose through the ranks of its gamified student-researcher professional development program, the Scholar’s Program, earning the designation of Forever Pioneer Scholar (FPS) during her second year in the program. A promotion to FPS requires compelling evidence of significant professional growth, meaningful research contributions, and a unanimous vote-to-promote from the CSR staff. 

As a FPS, Natisha blossomed, specifically as a leader and role model to, and advocate for, students and the student researcher experience. Natisha has also devoted significant effort towards contributing to the sense of community on the CSR Slack workspace and serves as the Center’s Social Media Specialist. Her skills have increased the Center’s followership and most importantly, have increased student engagement with the CSR on social media, as well as during Center events. 

Among her peers, Natisha is viewed as supportive, a highly skilled, knowledgeable, and very entertaining speaker, and a student leader in the push for more funding, resources, and support for student researchers, scholars, and creative artists at Cal State East Bay.

Proud Nominees 2020

Gregory Mwamba, Senior, Mathematics

Growing up, Gregory’s family moved around a lot, moving to multiple cities in 3 different countries: D.R. Congo, South Africa, and the US. Nevertheless, there was one thing that remained constant, no matter where Gregory lived: math. To him, math grew from being just something he loved into something he loved and a tool; math was a way to express himself and to communicate with people from all over the world to an extent that language alone could not. He eventually realized that there was more to math than just numbers, arithmetic, fancy symbols and fancy formulas; it was a way to connect with others, regardless of his or their ethnic, racial, or sociocultural background. This realization ignited a desire to pursue a PhD in math. 

Being raised by a single parent with 4 siblings, there were semesters where Greg had to juggle 2-3 jobs, ranging from tutoring to retail, while being a full-time student. To compound the issue, it quickly became evident to Gregory that in order to pursue a PhD in math, he needed to do more than just do well in his undergraduate courses - he needed to get additional outside-of-the-classroom math experiences so as to strengthen his PhD applications. Some of the professors in his department noticed Gregory’s affinity for math, and suggested he apply for scholarships to help alleviate some of his financial burdens, which would then allow him to spend time in extracurricular math activities and research. Greg is now a PROUD LSAMP Scholar as well as a Scholar in the Cal State East Bay’s Center for Student Research Scholar’s Program, the latter of which he has earned the designation of “Forever Pioneer Scholar”, a designation reserved for the Program’s top 15% of students.

In pursuing a PhD in mathematics, Gregory wants to make a significant contribution his the field, including making strides to change the current perception of the subject: “I want to show people all around the world that there's more to math than counting/arithmetic, fancy symbols and fancy formulas...” Greg wants to teach people that math is a universal language that can be shared between all people.

Sandra Torres, Senior, Computer Science & Mathematics

Growing up, Sandra’s parents (both from Mexico) strongly encouraged their children to pursue a college education (despite neither of them having attended college; Sandra’s mother completed high school). Upon being accepted to Cal State East Bay in 2016, Sandra packed her bags, and moved away from home. During her time at Easy Bay, financial concerns arose, almost forcing Sandra to drop out. Instead, she expended great time and effort in securing scholarships to pay for her education.

Sandra is a woman in predominantly man-dominated fields (computer science and mathematics). She notes, “[f]or my computer science courses.... there was either one, two, or no other female classmates....[c]onnecting with female classmates was challenging...” Despite these challenges, Sandra has thrived at Cal State East Bay. She was a campus Sustainability Ambassador and a highly active member and officer of the Recreational Math & Computer Science club. Sandra was also a “Scholar” in the Cal State East Bay Center for Student Research Scholar’s Program (CSR). Sandra achieved the highest level in the program; the ‘Forever Pioneer Scholar’ level, a designation only offered to a maximum of 15% of Scholars in any given year. 

Sandra began as a computer science major, and added mathematics as a second major after falling in love with the discipline while at East Bay. Sandra’s mathematics work at East Bay involved using the fractal shape, the Sierpinski’s Gasket, as the foundation for exploring the mathematical-based puzzle game, ‘Towers of Hanoi’. Her faculty mentor, Dr. Arauza-Rivera challenged Sandra to identify mathematical relationships between the game and the fractal shape. Sandra found this work to be extremely rewarding, in terms of helping her develop her mathematical expertise and thought processes, as well as with respect to the relationship she has formed with her faculty mentor. Sandra notes that working with Dr. Arauza-Rivera is “ honor because of our common ethnicity representation and gender [which is less common in] the field of mathematics”.

After graduating, Sandra plans to take a gap year before pursuing a Ph.D. in Mathematics, and later, a master's in library sciences.

Nathaniel Islas, Senior, Statistics

As a child, Nathaniel had a profound interest in science and dreamt of being a scientist making world-changing discoveries. However, life experiences and circumstances growing up convincedNathaniel early on that those aspirations were not for someone with the life experiences that he had: “I'm a Latino that comes from a working-class family, my father is an HVAC technician, and my mother dropped out of high school.... [a] week before my first semester of community college, my father and step-mother separated. My father moved back to Texas with my two younger siblings....[s]ince I was 18 years old, I have become a one-person support system taking care of myself financially...” 

At community college, Nathaniel decided to study computer science. He often encountered self-doubt, rooted in his experiences as a Latino first-generation college student in a discipline wherein there were few others that “looked” like him or to which he felt he could otherwise relate. In the face of many obstacles, Nathaniel made a deliberate decision to focus on school: “I know that pursuing higher education will continue to be a healthy outlet that will allow me to achieve my goals.” Resultant from his commitment to his future, Nathaniel has flourished at Cal State East Bay, owning his space in higher education and his right to academic and professional development. Most recently, he has participated in a Stanford University internship, received a “Latinos in Technology” Scholarship, is involved in two student research University programs, and has developed professional relationships with faculty who have offered to help mentor him. After completing his undergraduate degree, he intends to pursue a PhD in computer science.

Nathaniel aspires to work on AI in healthcare and, more specifically, its application to personalized medicine, cancer research and treatments, and genomics.

Proud Nominees 2019

Academic resilience and resourcefulness

Alex Moreno, Senior, Biological Sciences Minor: Chemistry

Raised in a single parent household and being a first generation college student, Alex has not had many role models to assist her with her journey through college. When you speak with Alex, it is very clear that she will eventually work in medicine, be it as a pediatrician, or a sports medicine doctor. However, the path to medical school has been challenging academically, and Alex has had to learn ‘on the fly’, through her own academic success and failures, what learning strategies, resources, and student programs work for her. Alex’s resiliency and her willingness to try new experiences are two of her greatest strengths. For example, Alex has participated in several student development and success programs on campus, including STEP (sophomore transition enhancement program), CSR-SP (the Center for Student Research Scholar’s Program), and our LSAMP program. In each, Alex has engaged, asked questions, and participated in learning and development events and activities. 

Working alongside her research mentors, Dr. Almeida and Dr. Stone, Alex’s Cal State East Bay research examines whether plants, brainless organisms, can learn by association. This past summer, she was also invited to participate in the MCHC/Rise-Up internship program offered through the Kennedy Krieger Institute, John Hopkins School of Medicine, and the CDC. The program focused on public health leadership training and research in the area of maternal and child health. Alex’s internship research work culminated in a research presentation at CDC Headquarters. 

Moving forward, Alex continues to set her sights on medical school, but plans to pursue a master’s degree, first. Given her commitment and resourcefulness in pursuing her dream, we believe that we will, one day, be calling her Dr. Moreno!

Jasmin Zaragoza, Senior, Biology with a concentration in Physiology

Jasmin grew up in a complicated family situation, spending time back-and-forth between living with her mother and father. Young Jasmin actively tried to avoid being at home. She found escape in the sport of tennis at the age of 13, and notes that, “…it was all I thought about. My academics never meant anything to me….” This obsession earned Jasmin a partial college athletic scholarship, however, it also consumed so much of her time and thought that her GPA suffered, greatly. Moreover, the scholarship money was not enough to pay for the costs of college, and two years later, she left school and moved home to live with her father. That didn’t work out, so shortly thereafter, Jasmin moved, again, got a job as a tennis coach, and began attending community college. Things started turning around for Jasmin once she arrived at Cal State East Bay.

She committed herself to creating a new and satisfying future, and for her, this involved finding a career interest in which she would have the opportunity to help others. She chose medicine, despite the uphill battle she knew she would have to fight, given her current GPA. Since then, she has become a leader in her school and in her community. Jasmin currently serves as a Campus peer mentor, and also revived and serves as President of the Campus tennis club. This Fall, she will launch a nonprofit, “GRT Tennis Academy”, which will offer tennis classes to those who have put their lives on the line to save others. Jasmin also founded, and is President of, the “Letters to Hope” club at East Bay, which sends letters of hope and encouragement to those who are suffering – anywhere in the world. This highly active club continues to grow; Letters to Hope hosted its first summer leadership program at two different sites (Hayward and Fresno), this past summer. Jasmin continues to turn her academics around. This fall, she starts in the MS program in Biological Sciences at Cal State East Bay. With the help of Dr. Natalie Ingraham, Jasmin will also begin work on a new research project examining the influence of empathy-focused service work on empathy behaviors and attitudes among college students.

Paula Rodriguez-Cruz, Senior, Biology with Emphasis in Physiology

Paula is a first generation college student from Colombia. In addition to financial difficulties growing up, she notes that learning to adjust to language and cultural differences once arriving in California has been an additional (but welcome) challenge. These challenges, however, have not slowed Paula down. In addition to being an excellent student (Dean's/Honors List; Suma Cum Laude) and researcher (her research talk earned her second place at the Northern California Parasitologists’ Annual Meeting this past year), she is also an active and contributing service member at Cal State East Bay and beyond. Paula serves as a Campus peer tutor and student peer mentor leader, volunteers at a local hospital in the OR (earning her the “volunteer of the year” award), has won the President’s Volunteer Service Award, and also serves as a Board Member for the National Society of Leadership and Success. 

Paula’s research examines Toxoplasma gondii. Toxoplasma gondii is a single-celled parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, a disease of medical and veterinary importance as T. gondii can infect humans and other warm-blooded animals. T. gondii is an obligate intracellular protozoan that can invade and replicate inside virtually all nucleated cells within a parasitophorous vacuole (PV). Her project focuses on the unknown rhoptry protein, ROP23; she hypothesizes that ROP23 localizes to the rhoptry organelles of Toxoplasma gondii and is directly secreted into the host where it modulates host processes. Her ultimate goal for this work is to visualize the location of the protein ROP23 in the parasite. 

Paula is an exemplary all-around student, and has successfully managed to balance academics, research, and service work such that she is excels and makes meaningful contributions in all areas. She should be considered a role model to all undergraduate students holding similar professional aspirations (becoming a medical doctor).

Proud Nominees 2018

Binh Cao

As an immigrant, Binh has faced challenges varying from language barriers to cultural differences to financial hardships. At first, these challenges were intimidating and discouraging, but by overcoming them, he grew to appreciate hard work and diversity. Binh has maintained a perfect GPA throughout his college career. He has previously co-authored a peer-reviewed manuscript in the Journal of Immunology from research he performed while an intern at the National Institute of Health. Since joining Dr. Pascale Guiton’s lab (Biological Sciences), Binh has received a Future Scholar Scholarship and was accepted into the Cal State East Bay Center for Student Research Scholar’s Program. Furthermore, Binh received an Honorable Mention in the Student Paper Competition at the Northern California Parasitologists conference and presented a poster at the 21st annual Bay Area Microbial Pathogenesis Symposium in Spring 2018. His research mentor, Dr. Guiton, has noted about Binh: Binh is very meticulous and hardworking. What impresses me most is his ability and willingness to help others in the lab. He is generous with his time and committed to success. Time and time again he showed his dedication to scientific research by going above and beyond what I require for an undergraduate research assistant”.

Binh’s LSAMP research examines Toxoplasma gondii, which possess specialized secretory organelles whose contents are secreted into the host cell where they modulate various host processes. His project seeks to understand how proteins are trafficked to these organelles, namely the rhoptries and the dense granules. His work has already garnered attention; he was invited to deliver a talk about his research project at Stanford University in May 2018.

Binh is also very active on campus, working as a Supplemental Instruction Leader and peer tutor. He also participates in various student-research and other science-focused events held on campus throughout the year.

Junior, Physics

Dennis Calderon-Madera

Throughout his entire life, Dennis has had to deal with severe vision problems. He has had his corneas replaced, and actively deals with medical issues resultant from the procedure. He does not see 20/20, even with glasses, making certain aspects of being a college student more challenging. This, however, does not stop Dennis from continuing to work hard to build his future. Despite the challenges life has thrown at him, he maintains a positive and optimistic attitude, friendly and highly approachable demeanor, and an unwavering belief that life is what you make of it. Dennis modestly notes that he’s “not anything special” and that “he just works hard”.

An East Bay California native, Dennis attended high school, community college, and now, Cal State East Bay, all within the East Bay area. He has had to work incredibly hard to earn every grade on his transcript. Since arriving at Cal State East Bay in 2016, Dennis’ GPA has improved dramatically (transfer GPA = 2.8). Currently, his institutional GPA is above a 3.6. In Fall 2017, he made the honor roll for the first time, ever.  

Dennis’ research surrounds very-high-energy astroparticle physics. More specifically, Dennis works alongside his mentor, Dr. Amy Furniss (Physics), to measure gamma-ray emitting galaxies with the VERITAS instrument (Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System) located in southern Arizona – one of just three ground-based gamma-ray observatories in the world. Their goal is to determine the origin of the gamma rays from the vicinity of the supermassive black holes at the center of these unique galaxies.

Recently (summer 2018), Dennis was selected to participate as a CAMPARE Scholar for a Summer Research Internship at UCSD. He is also the president of the Cal State East Bay Society of Physics Students and served as the physics department student-representative on a University student programming committee. Dennis has also spearheaded a community outreach project, collaborating with the University’sInstitute for STEM Education and the Hayward Unified School District, promoting physics and STEM in local middle- and high-schools in the Hayward area.


Senior, Biology

Peter Alvarez

Growing up in a low-income household, Peter’s family encouraged him to take his education seriously so he could have a more secure future. Battling many outside influences and distractions, Peter struggled through school early on, but remained resolute in following an academic path. With great determination, Peter earned acceptance into Cal State East Bay – he proudly became the first in his family to attend college. As a first-generation college student, Peter was not able to benefit from the guidance of familial role models who had knowledge of the college student experience. During his first year at Cal State East Bay, Peter felt like he did not belong in higher education and was not engaged with the material he was learning in class. Things changed when he began working on research with Dr. Claudia Stone (Biological Sciences). For the first time in his life, Peter felt excited about learning. The hands-on approach to learning that he experienced through research is, in Peter’s words, “vital for the education of a student”. Taking the concepts he had learned in class and applying them to a research project helped him understand the material better, which in turn, improved his academic performance.

Peter has also been involved in other outside-of-the-classroom student experiences. He was instrumental in founding and organizing the Cal State East Bay Science Club, "SciTalk", which engages students in discussion of current science research. He is also an Operations Supervisor at the campus Recreation and Wellness Center, as well as a member of Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. In Summer of 2017, Peter was selected to participate in the CSU-LSAMP Costa Rica Summer Expedition. He was one of two 2017 participants invited back for the 2018 Expedition, to serve as a teaching assistant.

Peter's LSAMP research involves genome editing of the model plant white lupin with CRISPR-Cas (molecular scissors) to mutate genes of interest. The resulting "loss-of-function" mutants are then analyzed for any phenotypical changes, which can reveal gene function.

Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, Peter plans to pursue a master’s degree in molecular and cellular biology, followed by a Ph.D. He is considering a career as a college professor.  

Proud Nominees 2017

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. 

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.   

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. 

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

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

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.

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.