Symposium allows students to showcase research

More than 90 student researchers had an opportunity to present the findings of their work at the Sonoma State University Research Symposium. The symposium was held April 15 in the Student Center Ballroom. The program included McNair Scholars, Provost’s Undergraduate Research Grant, Faculty Research Exposition, Graduate Student Showcase and Society and Culture Undergraduate Research Forum. 

“Sonoma State University is about setting students on a path to successful careers, rich lives and essential to this is our belief in the teacher’s scholar model,” said Provost Andrew Rogerson “What an amazing showing today at our first research symposium that combined events that used to be held separately.” 

The symposium showcased many research groups who had the opportunity to share their research. All of the research programs were originally separated, so this symposium helped bring the diverse programs together to Sonoma State so students and faculty could show off their research to the public.

“Convincing them [the student researchers] what was in their best interest to come together, pool their resources and have this joined symposium. This is a really exciting event to see the fruition of undergraduate, graduate and student research,” said Melinda Barnard, associate vice president for Faculty Affairs and chief research officer.

The Presidents Award for Excellence in Scholarship was given out to Lynn Cominsky and Suzanne Rivoire. Cominsky is professor and chair of the physics and astronomy department and part of Sonoma State’s faculty for more than 25 years. She is also author of more than 125 research papers and a personal investigator for more than $25 million worth of research grants, and many more. 

Rivoire is an associate professor of computer science with an area of expertise in energy-efficient computing focusing on large-scale data centers of super computers. She also developed the first energy efficiency in benchmarking of computing, which is still being used today.

The Society and Culture Undergraduate Research Forum showcases research pertaining to issues involving society and culture.

Tamaiah Thompson from McNair Scholars Program did research focused on Black Women’s Perspectives in Higher Education. 

“My research is about black women perspectives in higher education in regard to social and academic experiences in a predominantly white institution and how that’s a no go for us,” said Thompson. “I know more people here really need to not forget about the other kind of population of black women that is increasing on this campus, and they have voices they want to be heard too.” 

Thompson found 13 of 15 interviewees have expressed experiencing microaggressions in social and academic settings.

This program gives students the benefit of working with a faculty mentor, research training, publication of research in the McNair Scholars Journal and more. 

Ashley Royston of the McNair Scholars Program did research focused on satisfaction with family quality of life and the individual, social and contextual Factors. 

“My research is about families/marriages and what makes them happy and what doesn’t,” said Royston. “And also the factors that influence on how happy they actually are in the family and marriages.” 

Provost’s Undergraduate Research Grant program exhibits research accompanied by faculty mentors. Faculty Research Exposition helps give professors a chance to share their scholarly work by being involved with students at some level.

Michael Haggmark from Provost’s Undergraduate Research Grants and Faculty Exposition did research focused on grass chromatography and the determination of volatile organic compounds released from grass wounding with Mark Perri, and Ben Diamond. 

“We quantify the emissions from [various] turf grasses, we’re motivated by several factors: the first is the prevalence of quants in the United States and lead to be three times the most cultivated crop in the U.S.,” said Haggmark. “Second is that you mow it more often during the weekend than during the weekday, and third is the compounds they emit in the presence of has nitrogen oxide species like in NO or NO2, it will increase the ozone levels in the troposphere which is bad for you.” 

The student found that a method has been developed for quantitative analysis of the volatiles in grass using headspace-Solid Phase Micro Extraction and grass violations have increased several fold following mowing. Graduate Student Showcase shows the creative efforts of SSU’s 15 graduate programs by featuring graduate students presentations.