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Science, Engineering programs build a brighter future


The ribbon-cutting panel for the California Smart Grid Center included (l-r): Mike Gravely, Manager, Energy Systems Research Office, California Energy Commission; Karen Douglas, Commission Chair, California Energy Commission; Genevieve Shiroma, President of the Board, SMUD; Congresswoman Doris Matsui; Alexander Gonzalez, President, Sacramento State; Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson; Emir Macari, Dean, Sacramento State’s College of Engineering and Computer Science.

The excellence of Sacramento State’s science and engineering programs is gaining support and recognition from regional and national leaders – and students stand to benefit most.

On Oct. 26, the campus was the site of the Sacramento Clean Tech Showcase. More than 800 people joined Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson at the SARTA event, which included a ribbon-cutting for the California Smart Grid Center at Sacramento State.

The Center is a partnership with SMUD, the state Department of General Services and the Los Rios Community College District to modernize energy use and technology in the region.

Also at the showcase, Sacramento State’s colleges of Engineering and Computer Science, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Business Administration had exhibits to highlight the University’s commitment to supporting the clean tech sector.

“Outstanding faculty, students and community partnerships make Sacramento State the region’s ideal proving ground for advances in clean technology,” University President Alexander Gonzalez said. “With excellent programs in power engineering and computer science, we are educating the next generation of workers in this exciting sector.”

On the federal level, a $755,000 grant awarded by the National Science Foundation will be used to modernize the University’s Center for Interdisciplinary Molecular Biology Education, Research and Advancement (CIMERA). When combined with an earlier $350,000 grant secured by Matsui, the funding will advance teaching and learning in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

CIMERA is a 2,500 square-foot facility created by the departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry to promote student and faculty research and education in the molecular biosciences. The program provides supplies for 10 student-research projects. The modernization will provide research experiences for about 20 additional students.

“By updating this facility, local students and researchers will be better equipped to perform the research that will lead to the breakthroughs of tomorrow, and our entire community will benefit as a result,” Matsui said.

“This is the type of collaborative research space we need to further new discoveries and help students develop advanced skills,” said College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Dean Jill Trainer.

Sacramento State’s proactive scientific endeavors led to the University’s designation as an Emerging Research Institution last year. This gives the University an even greater presence as it competes for federal funding. 

Following an extensive effort to recruit faculty with a passion for teaching and research, the Department of Chemistry has netted more than $3 million during the last decade via internal and external grants.

Department chair Susan Crawford cites a recent $700,000 grant from the National Science Foundation that paid for a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer that enables faculty and students to study more complex molecular structures.

Access to special equipment such as the Spectrometer allows students to gain hands-on experience that makes them prime candidates for graduate schools and to fill jobs in science fields that will enhance our economy’s global competitiveness.

President Gonzalez honored this commitment to teaching and research in awarding the annual President’s Award for Research and Creativity to Katherine McReynolds.

McReynolds and her students are researching carbohydrate molecules that could ultimately provide a new therapy in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. More information on McReynolds is available at