Achieving Excellence
at California State University, Chico

Natural Sciences

Michelle Oken, a Biological Sciences graduate student, teaches fourth graders to identify various species of birds on a recent field trip to the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve.

BCCER Celebrates 10 Years

The Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve consists of 3,950 acres of diverse canyon and ridge habitats that support 140 different wildlife species and provide a natural area for environmental research and education.

Scholars Honored

In its 15th year, the Floyd L. English Natural Sciences Scholarship program awarded $50,000 to 15 math and science majors in 2009–2010. Since the program’s inception, $750,000 has been awarded to Natural Sciences majors.

Chemistry Undergraduates Paired with Faculty

The Chemistry Summer Research Institute (CSRI) brings professors and students together to educate each other in their separate research problems, methods, and results. CSRI fellowships provide students with a $3,500 stipend for 10 weeks of research. In 2010, projects included conversion of agricultural waste to polylactic acid, a biodegradable, compostable polymer often used in food packaging. Chemist Larry Kirk, biologist Larry Hanne, and mechatronic and manufacturing engineer Joe Greene collaborated on the project funded by Frito-Lay and the Agricultural Research Initiative.

Rural SimCenter Accredited

The Society for Simulation in Healthcare accredited the Rural Northern California Clinical Simulation Center established by the School of Nursing in partnership with Enloe Medical Center and Feather River Hospital. The SimCenter provides a realistic environment for health care personnel and students to practice complex skills using trained volunteers and computer-controlled mannequins.

Physics Professor Receives NSF Grant

Shane Mayor, Geosciences and Physics, received $554,585 from the National Science Foundation for “Horizontal Vector Wind Field Measurement with Eye-Safe Elastic Lidar.” He maintains the Raman-Shifted Eye-Safe Aerosol Lidar used to study the atmospheric boundary layer of the Earth.

Collaboration Creates New Product

The collaborative efforts of Jim Postma, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Merritt Erickson, an olive and almond grower, along with two microbiology students, resulted in the formulation of a natural product that quickly and safely removes salmonella and E. coli from fruits, vegetables, and nuts. The product received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval and is certified by National Organic Program regulations.

Students Design and Build Vacuum System

Senior Alex Wallace, Physics and Mechatronic Engineering, put together a student team to design and build a vacuum system from components donated by alumnus Dennis Murray. The system will be used for thin-film preparation for experiments in physics and advanced lab courses.



The basic and applied sciences serve as a beacon of hope for a better tomorrow.

For Additional Information

CSU, Chico
Admissions Office

The College of Natural Sciences

Holt Hall 285