Sacramento State brought home a first-place and two second-place awards from the 31st annual California State University (CSU) Student Research Competition, April 29-30 at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Hundreds of students from the 23 CSU campuses competed.
Megan Self took first place in the graduate-level Health, Nutrition, and Clinical Sciences category with her doctoral project, “Physical Therapy Treatment for a Patient with Myasthenia Gravis in the Acute-Care Setting: A Case Report.” Myasthenia gravis is a rare neuromuscular disorder that has no cure.
“My project was based on a patient I saw during a clinical affiliation,” Self says. “The outcomes of treatment were significant enough that I am seeking to publish the results as a case report.
“Winning this award means that my research results will reach more people and, hopefully, lead to improved understanding of how to treat this patient population. There is a real lack of research regarding the efficacy of physical therapy treatment.”
Self will graduate in July from Sac State’s Doctor of Physical Therapy Program (DPT.)
“Megan is an excellent student, and she has demonstrated a great ability to do research” says Fred Baldini, dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “Her work is a great example of how evidence-informed patient care is important and useful when we determine the most effective way to treat patients.”
Brandon Trafton, a kinesiology and health science major, was awarded second place for “Developing Drosophila Melanogaster as a Model for the Identification of Environmental Chemicals that Confer Risk of Autism.”
“Hopefully (my research) will spread awareness of the vast number of untested chemicals and the solution we propose to screen those chemicals,” says Trafton, who graduated in December. This fall, he will attend Georgetown University, where he is enrolled in the special master’s program in physiology and biophysics. He hopes to go on to medical school.
Also winning a second-place award was Jacob Chiang, who graduated last fall with a bachelor’s in biological sciences. His research topic was “Curricular Activities that Promote Metacognitive Skills Impact Lower-Performing Students in an Introductory Biology Course.”
Chiang based his study on Professor Kelly McDonald’s active-learning course called Bio2: Cells, Molecules and Genes. He served as the professor’s learning assistant and, later, as an undergraduate researcher in the class.
“Something interesting I learned from the project is that underestimators (when compared with overestimators) actually perform better on course exams when trying to estimate their score,” Chiang says. “In addition, the lower-performing students benefited from our curricular activities by displaying a higher level of metacognitive skill by the end of the semester.
“This award gives me the confidence to pursue terminal degrees in biological sciences or science education,” he adds.
Sacramento State sent nine students to the CSU competition. They qualified for the systemwide challenge after scoring high points at the 2017 Sacramento State Student Research Symposium on March 7. There, 101 students – 76 undergraduates and 25 graduates – delivered their findings in poster or oral presentations. Each student was mentored by a faculty member. – Dixie Reid