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Four Cal Poly Students Recognized at CSU Student Research Competition

Jun 13, 2022

Clockwise from top left are Tanvi Gehani, Jacob Campbell, Issac Ho and Savannah Weaver
SAN LUIS OBISPO — Four Cal Poly students were awarded first- or second-place prizes at the 2022 California State University (CSU) Student Research Competition. Cal Poly, Fullerton and Sacramento State were the most recognized universities in the competition, with four awardees each.
“Our students were phenomenal representatives of Cal Poly at the competition, and I am thrilled they have been recognized at the CSU level for the quality of their work,” said Jane Lehr, director of the Office of Student Research at Cal Poly. “This event is an amazing opportunity for our students to share their work and show what makes research at Cal Poly such a great experience.”

Students from across the CSU competed in 10 divisions in the following categories: Behavioral, Social Sciences, and Public Administration; Biological and Agricultural Sciences; Business, Economics and Hospitality Management; Creative Arts and Design; Education; Engineering and Computer Science; Health, Nutrition and Clinical Sciences; Humanities and Letters; Physical and Mathematical Sciences; and Interdisciplinary.
“It was really humbling to present my project alongside so many other talented students and learn from their projects as well,” said Tanvi Gehani, a fourth-year Cal Poly biomedical engineering major from New Jersey. “Having spent the past three years working in Dr. Maj’s lab and having to switch to a completely remote setting during the pandemic, it felt incredibly rewarding to still be able to present significant and relevant findings.”
Gehani won first place in the Health, Nutrition and Clinical Sciences undergraduate category. “I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to support such an impactful project, given the increasing global threat that metabolic syndrome, due to the Western diet, poses to society,” she said. “I believe that this experience will play a great role in my ambition to pursue my Ph.D. and to eventually lead to cutting-edge research initiatives within the biomedical industry.”
San Francisco State University hosted the 36th annual competition. Students presented their work through a prerecorded video and participated in a live virtual Q&A with a jury and an audience. They competed by discipline category and, where feasible, as an undergraduate or graduate student. First-place finishers were awarded a $500 prize and second-place finishers were awarded $250.
The four Cal Poly projects awarded are:
First Place in Health, Nutrition and Clinical Sciences — Undergraduate Category: Tanvi Gehani (Biomedical Engineering), Effect of Coconut Oil Intake in a Pig Model of Pediatric Non‐Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Advisor: Magdalena Maj (Biological Sciences Department)
Second Place in Education — Graduate Category: Jacob Campbell (Higher Education Counseling in Student Affairs Graduate Program), Defining Mixed‐Race College Students: Examining Graduation Gaps Between Multiracial and Monoracial Undergraduates
Advisor: Sonia Ramrakhiani (School of Education)
Second Place in Behavioral, Social Sciences and Public Administration — Graduate Category: Isaac Ho (Food Science Blended Master’s Program), Use of Preference Analysis to Identify Early Adopter Mind‐Sets of Insect‐based Food Products 
Advisor: Amy Lammert (Food Science and Nutrition Department)
Second Place in Biological and Agricultural Sciences — Graduate Category: Savannah Weaver (Biological Sciences Graduate Program), Additive Effects of Humidity and Temperature on Acclimation in a Lizard
Advisor: Emily Taylor (Biological Sciences Department)
Cal Poly was also represented at the 2022 CSU Student Research Competition by Jack Alexander (Biological Sciences), Kimiko Casuga (Food Science Graduate Program), Hannah Heath (Nutrition), Ariadne Kaylor (Psychology), Trevor Kirkby (Computer Science Graduate Program), Jack Koster (Agriculture Master’s Program, Crop Science Specialization), Mary McCafferty (Mathematics), Chloe McGovern (Food Science, ‘21) and Patrick Perrine (Computer Science Graduate Program).

Contact: Keegan Koberl

May 19, 2022 - Original Press Release posted here

NSF GRFP - Cal Poly Students Studying Effects of Climate Change Earn Prestigious Research Fellowships

May 4, 2022


Student Annie Meeder on a grassland plot on Santa Cruz Island

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Two Cal Poly graduate students in the biological sciences program were awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships to support their ongoing research on responses to environmental changes to plants and animals in California.

Annie Meeder, a first-year graduate student from Paso Robles, with the support of her faculty advisor, Jenn Yost of the Biological Sciences Department, is studying dynamics of Santa Cruz Island vegetation communities and how these communities have changed in response to certain historical disturbances.

Meeder plans to continue researching in this field and to pursue a doctorate on island vegetation communities and their response to historical, current, and future disturbances. She hopes her research can be used as a model for assessing vegetation dynamics and management strategies in both island systems and mainland areas where vegetation has undergone alteration from overgrazing — and that work can be used to help predict island vegetation response to climate change.

“My first exposure to ecology and science was in high school on a trip to Santa Cruz Island doing volunteer research,” Meeder said. “I now help lead those trips and mentor high schoolers. As a researcher on Santa Cruz Island, I have had an incredible opportunity with Dr. Yost to just collect awesome data, do meaningful work, and give Cal Poly students and faculty alike an incredible research experience.”

Savannah Weaver, a second-year graduate student from San José, plans to continue to study the water balance of reptiles, specifically how water requirements and water-conserving adaptations vary over time and among species and different habitats.

“As the climate crisis continues and drought and heatwaves become more frequent and intense, understanding the water requirements of reptiles, and all animals, will be essential for conservation management,” she said.

Weaver has studied the abundant Western Fence Lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis) under the mentorship of Emily Taylor, professor in the Biological Science Department. Weaver hopes to study other lizards and snakes in her doctoral program.

​“I've always loved nature, and I’ve become increasingly passionate about the conservation of wildlife and wild landscapes,” Weaver said. “When I started graduate school with Dr. Taylor, I realized that very little was known about reptile water balance, despite its importance. I read everything I could about it and was immediately hooked, because there was so much information that I felt was missing and that I could try to figure out.”

Two Cal Poly alumni, Gabriel Medina-Kim (Computer Science, ’20) and Nicole Siguenza (Biochemistry and Microbiology, '20) were also awarded fellowships. Medina-Kim is in the second year of the doctoral program in science and technology studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He was previously selected for the CSU Chancellor’s Doctoral Incentive Program, a program to support the development of future faculty and support doctoral education. Siguenza is in her second year at UC San Diego, pursuing a doctorate in biomedical sciences.

“I am thrilled to see our students and alumni be recognized for their outstanding work in their fields and receive support from the NSF to continue that work,” said Bob Crockett, Cal Poly’s administrator in charge of Research, Economic Development and Graduate Education. “These students are tremendous examples of what can be done at Cal Poly when our students and faculty can collaborate.”

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited U.S. institutions.

Fellowships provide students with a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, as well as access to opportunities for professional development available to NSF-supported graduate students.

tudent Savannah Weaver holds a brown treesnake during a research trip in Guam

Both photos courtesy Cal Poly

April 27, 2022
Contact: Keegan Koberl

See original news release here.


Apply by May 6 (extended)! OSR Summer 2022 Student Research Fellowships

Apr 26, 2022

The Office of Student Research is excited to announce that applications are now open for up to five Summer 2022 Student Research Fellowships. 

OSR Student Research Fellowships are open to students in all disciplines and are undocufriendly. Students must qualify for need-based financial aid. 

Summer 2022 Fellows will receive a $3,500 stipend to support their professional development and training via a hands-on research experience mentored by a Cal Poly faculty member. 

Learn more

Annual CSU Student Research Competition to Include 10 Student Projects from Cal Poly

Apr 22, 2022


Researchers Patrick Perrine and Trevor Kirkby

SAN LUIS OBISPO — Ten student research projects from Cal Poly have been selected to represent the university at the annual California State University (CSU) systemwide competition April 29-30.

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M 4/18 to F 4/22 - Cal Poly Undergraduate Research Week

Apr 6, 2022

All members of the Cal Poly community are invited to participate in the 2022 Cal Poly Undergraduate Research Week (M 4/18 to F 4/22). These events are part of a national celebration of undergraduate research organized each year by the Council on Undergraduate Research

View the schedule of Cal Poly events

Cal Poly Research Competition on F 3/4 & Sat 3/5/22

Feb 22, 2022

2022 CSU Research Competition

On F 3/4 & Sat 3/5, Cal Poly is hosting an internal competition to select the 10 projects that will represent Cal Poly at the virtual CSU Research Competition on F 4/29 & Sat 4/30. Over 40 projects will be presented by Cal Poly undergraduate students, graduate students and recent alums from across the colleges. Presentations will showcase so much awesome student research, scholarship, and creative activity!  

Advisors and supporters are welcome for all or part of the competition!

2022 CSU Research Competition Now Open

Dec 8, 2021

The 2022 CSU Research Competition is Now Open! 

Submissions due T 1/18/22 at 11:59pm CA time.

Learn More & Submit



Submit to NCUR 2022 by 10/20/21 (National Conference on Undergraduate Research)

Sep 23, 2021

October 20, 2021 Marks Early-Bird Abstract Submission Deadline 

The National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) is dedicated to the celebration and promotion of undergraduate research student achievement. This year, the virtual event will take place on April 4-8, 2022, with an orientation on April 1 and a celebratory reflection and award recognition ceremony on April 11.

As a virtual conference, NCUR will be providing programming spread out over a week's time that includes primary education taking place in discipline-specific learning cohorts, poster, oral, gallery art presentations, and -- a new addition this year -- an opt-in competitive experience only available to those who submit their abstracts before October 20, 2021. Submit early >>

The regular submission deadline is November 19, 2021.

Through 8/5 - You as a Student Researcher Workshop Series Continues!

Jul 15, 2021

This workshop series runs through Th 8/5/21.

It is for current and future student researchers and their mentors. (Students can participate with or without a mentor and vice versa.) Open to all disciplines!

Please join for any / all the sessions! Join anytime!


Canvas Site (in development):     

You as a Student Researcher! Summer 2021 Workshop Series & Resources

Summer 2021 Office of Student Research Newsletter #1

Jun 24, 2021

NEW! The Office of Student Research has a newsletter! Interested in receiving the new Office of Student Research newsletter by email? Sign up here!

The Summer 2021 Office of Student Research Newsletter #1 is now available!



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