Chico Adelante Program

2020 Faculty Research Mentors

Project Title: “Emerging Black Identity: A Comparative Analysis of James Baldwin & Ta-Nehisi Coates.” (student: Sam Haynes)

Nathaniel Heggins BryantNAME: Nathaniel Heggins Bryant

DEPARTMENT: English

NUMBER OF YEARS AT CHICO STATE: I’ve been teaching at Chico State since Fall 2015, but became a tenure-track faculty member in Fall 2018.

FIELD OF STUDY: American literature, working-class studies, prison writing.

PAST RESEARCH: US prison writing as intellectual labor; George Jackson (the Soledad Brother); Caryl Chessman (the Red Light Bandit, executed in 1960) and his self-taught legal writing.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO ADELANTE DOING FOR FACULTY &  STUDENTS? Helping students to understand the processes and navigate the institutions associated with advanced research and graduate school. Also working one-on-one with a student whose own interests dictate the relationship, rather than the other way around, which is usually what happens in classes. 


Project Title: "Cooking Skills in Relation to Food Security and Academic Performance" (student: Breanne Lencioni)

Maria GiovanniNAME:  Maria Giovanni

DEPARTMENT:  Nutrition and Food Science

NUMBER OF YEARS AT CHICO STATE:  Nine years, starting year ten in Fall 2020!

FIELD OF STUDY:  Food Quality, Consumer Behavior

PAST RESEARCH:  How food habits of senior adults impact quality of life, food quality of crops grown at the University Farm, Food Laboratory Pedagogy

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO ADELANTE Y  DOING FOR FACULTY & STUDENTS?  I am looking forward to creating a validated survey to assess the cooking skills of college students and collaboration with others and learning about their research,


Project Title: “The genetic basis of spinal deformities” (student: Berenice Arguello)

Fish x-ray showing spinal curvature.We study the genes that cause idiopathic spinal curvature in fish (shown here) to understand human scoliosis.

NAME: Kristen Fay Gorman

DEPARTMENT: Biological Sciences

NUMBER OF YEARS AT CHICO STATE: Since 2017

AREA OF STUDY: Genetics, cellular biology

PAST RESEARCH: The genetics of complex human diseases

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO ADELANTE DOING FOR FACULTY & STUDENTS? We appreciate the support that Adelante offers to students and faculty! We rely on summer as a time to generate exciting results from experiments, but without such a program, students of high potential must work jobs unrelated to their academic pursuits. I look forward to the growth of student potential through the comprehensive Adelante Chico program.


Project Title: “Body Image and its Effects on Male and Female Ethnic-Minority Adolescents.” (student: Vicky Wong)

Shelley HartNAME:  Shelley Hart

DEPARTMENT: Child Development

NUMBER OF YEARS AT CHICO STATE: 6 (fall of 2014)

FIELD OF STUDY:  School Psychology

PAST RESEARCH: Mood disorders, suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention, crisis prevention, intervention, and postvention, mindfulness, emotional and behavioral challenges for youth, aggression, special education, adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s), trauma, psychometric properties of measurement tools.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO ADELANTE DOING FOR FACULTY & STUDENTS? I am looking forward to mentoring my student in her research project and for her to have a cohort of other student researchers to connect with and feel comfortable as she moves toward applying to graduate school.


Project Title: "Making as an Epistemic Practice in English" (student: Jasmine Corona)

Kim Jaxon in classroom with college students.NAME: Kim Jaxon

DEPARTMENT: English

NUMBER OF YEARS AT CHICO STATE: It's complicated – I grew up in Chico. Finished my BA in 1997 and my MA in 2000 (both in English) at Chico State. Took off for UC, Berkeley for the PhD and was thrilled to be hired as a professor in 2010. Technically, I’ve been on and off campus since 1984 when I started as a freshman. I’ve taught on campus since 2005 (15 years).

FIELD OF STUDY: Composition and Literacy

PAST RESEARCH: With support from a National Science Foundation grant, I co-taught and researched an upper-division science class for future teachers with colleagues from biology and physics. Our research pays particular attention to the ways in which multimodal composing—informal science notebooks, diagrams on whiteboards, images shared online, and conversations around these inscriptions—model and reflect the composing practices of scientists. Our book, Composing Science: A Facilitator's Guide to Writing in the Science Classroom (TC Press, Oct 2016), provides concrete approaches for engaging students in practices that mirror the work that writing plays in the development and dissemination of scientific ideas. I also research critical digital literacies and educational design and write regularly for the Connected Learning Alliance. My most recent article, co-authored with Drs. Laura Sparks and Chris Fosen, “Epic Learning in a Jumbo Writing Course,” is forthcoming in August 2020 in Composition Studies.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO ADELANTE DOING FOR FACULTY & STUDENTS? I am most excited about the community that is being built for scholars on our campus through Adelante. The program is touching on so many important aspects of doing research, including the importance of mentoring and strong cohorts. The best part of graduate school was the relationships and friendships I built with my peers. We are now researchers and professors all over the world and I still rely on them for support. We offer feedback on drafts, on research proposals, on work-life balance issues, and sometimes just listen when someone is having a bad day or has something joyful to share. Adelante is bringing that model—strong peer and mentor connections—to our campus. Very grateful.


Project Title: “Seed banking for Climate Change & Restoration” (student: Lillian Trejo)

Kristen KaczynskiNAME: Kristen Kaczynski

DEPARTMENT: Geological and Environmental Sciences

NUMBER OF YEARS AT CHICO STATE: 5 years

FIELD OF STUDY: Disturbance and Restoration Ecology

PAST RESEARCH: Wet meadow and riparian restoration; post-fire vegetation recovery; drought impacts to sagebrush

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO ADELANTE DOING FOR FACULTY & STUDENTS? I’m so excited about the true multidisciplinary nature of this program – and am looking forward to hearing what all of these students find out through their research.


Project Title: Exploring the Relationship between Grit, Implicit Theories, and College Success in First Generation Students: Literature Review and Pilot Study. (student: Alaina Castor)

Linda KlineNAME: Linda Kline

DEPARTMENT: Psychology


Project Title: “Analysis of bi/multilingual discourse in science classrooms” (student: Lilliana Hernandez)

Catherine Lemmi outdoors with her family.NAME: Catherine Lemmi

DEPARTMENT: School of Education 

NUMBER OF YEARS AT CHICO STATE: 1

FIELD OF STUDY: Language in Science Education 

PAST RESEARCH: Language Ideologies in Science Education 

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO ADELANTE DOING FOR FACULTY & STUDENTS? I am looking forward to getting to know Liliana and sharing the research process with her.  I also look forward to learning more about her goals and dreams so that I can support her to reach those.


Project Title: "Proselytizing Modernity: Reexamining the Summer Institute of Linguistics’ Tenure in Mexico, 1934 - 1979." (student: Juan Vega)

Steve LewisNAME: Steve Lewis

DEPARTMENT: History

NUMBER OF YEARS AT CHICO STATE: 22

FIELD OF STUDY: Latin American History

PAST RESEARCH: History of state and nation building in postrevolutionary Mexico; history of Mexican indigenismo (public policy toward indigenous peoples); contemporary Mexican politics and society

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO ADELANTE DOING FOR FACULTY & STUDENTS? Adelante provides faculty with the opportunity to work with outstanding, self-motivated students when things are less hectic (i.e., the summer!). Juan and I have been working closely for about three years now and we share an interest in Mexican indigenismo and the role played by the missionary linguists of the US-based Summer Institute of Linguistics. Juan has been working with some great archival sources as he wrestles with the intersection of Mexican politics and nationalism and the Mexican government’s unlikely alliance with a Protestant missionary organization that established itself in many of Mexico’s most remote indigenous communities. Juan is interested in continuing his postgraduate studies at UC Davis and we hope that this Master’s thesis will help open that door for him.


Project Title: "The Impact of Contraception and Declining Fertility Rates on Mexican Women since 1968." (student: Vivian Hernandez)

Steve LewisNAME: Steve Lewis

DEPARTMENT: History

YEARS AT CHICO STATE: 22 years at Chico State!

AREA OF STUDY: History of Latin America

PAST RESEARCH: : History of state and nation building in postrevolutionary Mexico; history of Mexican indigenismo (public policy toward indigenous peoples); contemporary Mexican politics and society

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO ADELANTE DOING FOR FACULTY & STUDENTS? Adelante provides faculty with the opportunity to work with outstanding, self-motivated students when things are less hectic (i.e., the summer!). Vivian and I had already been talking about her research interests and her graduate school plans but this summer has provided multiple opportunities to deepen those conversations. I’m also personally interested in Vivian’s topic and I think her research findings will help me as I write a chapter for a forthcoming textbook on Mexico since 1960.


Project Title: “Using Gravitational Many-body Simulations to Explore the Origins of Rouge Asteroids.” (student: Cynthia Olvera Perez)

Nicholas NelsonNAME: Nicholas Nelson

DEPARTMENT: Physics

NUMBER OF YEARS AT CHICO STATE: 5

FIELD OF STUDY: Computational Astrophysics

PAST RESEARCH: My work has primarily looked at how stars impact their planets through magnetic activity such as sunspots. Using supercomputer simulations I create models of how stellar interiors generate magnetic fields, and how those fields rise towards the stellar surface. More broadly, I am interested in using computational methods to understand how stars work.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO ADELANTE DOING FOR FACULTY & STUDENTS? I hope that Adelante gives students a chance to feel what it is like to do cutting-edge research – to answer a question that no human being has ever answered before, and even more importantly, to discover a question no other human being ever knew to ask.


“COVID-19 and Structural Violence in America: The Case of Blue Collar Latinx Workers in the Meat-Packing Industry.” (student team: Daisy Belle Linsangan and Magaly Quinteros)

William NitzkyNAME: William Nitzky

DEPARTMENT: Anthropology


Project Title: “Swipe Against Hunger: Our Students Are Going Hungry” (student: Jessica Ramirez)

Marianne PaivaNAME: Marianne Paiva

DEPARTMENT: Sociology       

NUMBER OF YEARS AT CHICO STATE: 15 years

FIELD OF STUDY: Sociology, food insecurity

PAST RESEARCH: Food and Housing Insecurity among Camp Fire survivors, Educational Attainment of Second Generation Hmong.


Project Title: “Generation of Vortex Laser Beams” (student: Lauren Gorman)

Hyewon PechkisNAME: Hyewon Pechkis

DEPARTMENT: Physics

NUMBER OF YEARS AT CHICO STATE: I am entering 5th year!

FIELD OF STUDY: Experimental Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics
(check our research website for more detail!  https://pechkis.myportfolio.com/)

PAST RESEARCH: Spinor Bose Einstein Condensate

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO ADELANTE DOING FOR FACULTY & STUDENTS? Continue to offer this wonderful opportunity to more students!


Project Title: “COVID-19 & Student Basic Needs: Understanding impacts of the disruption and emergency funding” (student team: Daniel Celis, Mariela Cuna, Suyet Peralta, Tatiana Ybarra)

NAME: Dr. Susan Roll (center left in photo)
DEPARTMENT: School of Social Work

Susan Roll and Jennifer Wilking waving goodbye during Zoom meeting with students.WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO DO FOR FACULTY & STUDENTS? We want to understand how the disruptions associated with COVID-19 affected students' basic needs, including food insecurity, housing insecurity, and homelessness. We would also like to know how financial assistance to students (through emergency grants and CARES Act funds) affected students' spring academic performance, mental and physical wellness, and their likelihood to continue their education at Chico State in the Fall of 2020.

Who: Students who applied for a Basic Needs Grant.

How: 5 Zoom Focus Groups (about 30 students).


Project Title: “Chicano Muralism: Legacies of the Movement, Representations of Community, & the Redefinition or Historical Narratives” (student: Jose Valdez)

Shawn SchwallerNAME: Shawn Schwaller

DEPARTMENT: History

NUMBER OF YEARS AT CHICO STATE: 5 years at Chico State

FIELD OF SRUDY: 20th Century U.S. History, California History, American Studies, Cultural History, Race & Ethnic Relations

PAST RESEARCH: Dr. Shawn Schwaller’s research is rooted in his interdisciplinary background in American studies and history. His published works, which have appeared in a wide range of publications, engage the fields of American studies, California history, and twentieth century U.S. history.  His most recent publication, “Teaching the Music of Sunshine and Noir California: From “California Dreamin’” to “Straight Outta Compton” appeared in an anthology entitled Popular Music in the Classroom: Essays for Educators. He is currently working on two book manuscripts. One has a working titled of Under a Plastic Palm: Pacific Island Myths and Realities in Twentieth Century Metropolitan Los Angeles and the other explores the contemporary history of a variety of social issues in California’s Republican spaces.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO ADELANTE DOING FOR FACULTY & STUDENTS? Dr. Schwaller looks forward to helping students sharpen their research and writing skills as well as networking with faculty, staff, and students in the Adelante program. 


Project Title: “Investigating animal-microbe interactions in the sea anemone Aiptasia” (student team: Jaime Lopez and John Vang)

Cawa TranNAME: Cawa Tran

DEPARTMENT: Biological Sciences

NUMBER OF YEARS AT CHICO STATE: 3

FIELD OF STUDY: Cnidarian cell biology 

PAST RESEARCH: Invertebrate larval biology - settlement and metamorphosis of coral larvae

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO ADELANTE DOING FOR FACULTY & STUDENTS?  Create a fun mentoring network that lasts this summer and beyond!


Project Title: “Impacts of Covid-19 on Latinx Families” (student team: Daisy Cedillo, Veronica Lopez, Ally Moreno)

Heather WernerNAME: Heather Werner

DEPARTMENT: Social Work & Social Science

NUMBER OF YEARS AT CHICO STATE:  5.5 years

FIELD OF STUDY: BA in Child Development, MA in Social Work with an emphasis in Child Welfare (Title IV-E)

PAST RESEARCH: Prior to teaching, I worked for nine years as an Adoptions Specialist for the California Department of Social Services, Adoptions Bureau.  Most of my research at this time consisted of qualitative case studies of children in foster care that were in the process of being adopted and of families interested in becoming prospective adoptive parents.  We also generated quantitative data used by the UC Berkeley California Child Welfare Indicators Project (CCWIP).

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO ADELANTE DOING FOR FACULTY & STUDENTS? I teach undergraduate research methods to Social Work and Social Science students and Adelante is an excellent opportunity for these students to put their newly acquired knowledge into action.  I feel that this project will help prepare my research team for graduate school as well as provide a needs assessment for Latinx families during Covid-19.  As a research instructor, mentoring students on their research projects is incredibly rewarding.  I hope to use my research teaching and mentorship experience to promote my acceptance to a PhD program in the future.


Project Title: “COVID-19 & Student Basic Needs: Understanding impacts of the disruption and emergency funding” (student team: Daniel Celis, Mariela Cuna, Suyet Peralta, Tatiana Ybarra)

Jennifer WilkingNAME: Jennifer Wilking 

DEPARTMENT: Political Science and Criminal Justice

NUMBER OF YEARS AT CHICO STATE: Tenure track at Chico State since 2012, prior to that, served as a lecturer in 2006, 2009, and 2011. 

FIELD OF STUDY: Jen Wilking studies Comparative Politics, Research Methods, and Housing. 

PAST RESEARCH: Past research has explored how regime type affects perceptions of fairness of elections in the US and China; preferences for rule of law reform in China; how local laws affect the policing of people experiencing homelessness, and basic needs in higher education. 

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO ADELANTE DOING FOR FACULTY & STUDENTS? I believe Adelante is providing a foundation for future research partnerships among faculty and students that can assist students in pursuing their goals in academia and beyond.