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Student researchers deliver outstanding work


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The 2014 Sacramento State Student Research Symposium, held at the University Union, showcased the original scholarly work of 46 students – 27 undergraduates and 19 graduate students – who delivered their findings either as a poster or a 10-minute oral presentation.


Student Renee Phillips (Geology) is one of the recipients of a Provost’s Award.

The winners of the prestigious Provost’s Award for Research Excellence each received $500 for an oral presentation and $250 for a poster presentation. The four oral presenters will join six other top oral symposium competitors and represent Sac State at the California State University Student Research Competition on May 2-3 at CSU East Bay. (The CSU competition is limited to oral presentations.)

“It’s important for the campus and community to celebrate the accomplishments of our students,” says Deidre Sessoms, director of faculty research development.  “Whether they are pursuing higher education or moving into the workforce, Sac State students bring top-notch research experiences and skills with them.”

Here are the Provost’s Award winners, followed by their field of study and the title of their project. They are undergraduates unless otherwise noted.


Renee Phillips (Geology) – “Gravel Augmentation on the American River and the Effect on Chinook Salmon Spawning”

Rebecca Muradyan and Raul Copaciu (Biological Sciences) – “Phthalate Plasticizers Disrupt Early Reproductive Development in Nematode Worms”

Clint Gregory (Civil Engineering, graduate student) – “Phosphorus Removal in Biofiltration with Engineered Soils”

Catrina Calub (Psychology, graduate student) – “Fear to Conspecific 22 kHz ‘Alarm Cries’ in Rodents Is Based on Prior Experience”

Oral presentations:

Lance Teo Courtney (Biological Sciences) – “Cichlid Parental Care Combats Saprolegniasis in Eggs”

John Ramos (Dietetics) – “Man Enough: Somatoform and Eating Disorder Symptomology Among African American, Caucasian and Hispanic/Latino Varsity/NCAA Division 1 Male Athletes”

Shannon Waters (Biological Sciences, graduate student) – “Does Exposure to High Salinity Result in Reduced Reproduction in Salton Sea Tilapia?”

Jodi Lewis (Public Policy and Administration, graduate student) – “Examining the Influence of First Year Experience on Graduation at Sac State”

The following students also delivered outstanding oral presentations and will join the four Provost’s Award winners at the CSU research competition in May:

Adriel Cruz (Biological Sciences, graduate student) – “A Comparative Study of Assessment Formats in an Undergraduate Anatomy and Physiology Course”

Thor Barrera and Robby Beard (Physics) – “Exploration and Verification Analysis of a Linear Reluctance Accelerator”

Jasmine Hamilton (Biological Sciences) – “The Effect of Long-Term Metal Exposure and Mermithid Parasitism on Behavior and Predation of Nymphal Mayflies by Stonefly Larvae”

Tatiana Starr Daniels (Sociology) – “What Influences Some Black Males to Sell Drugs During Their Adolescence?”                      

Jose F. Zacarias (Government) – “U.S. Foreign Direct Investment and Mexican Immigration”

Alex Davis and Matt Woliver (Electrical Engineering) – “Using Piezoelectrics for Energy Harvesting and Sensing Applications”

The faculty members who mentored the Provost’s Award winners in the campus competition each received a professional development award. A jury of faculty and staff members from throughout the University judged the students’ work. The 2014 Student Research Symposium was organized by Sac State’s Office of Research Administration.

For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Office of Public Affairs at (916) 278-6156. – Dixie Reid