CSU, Chico News

CSU, Chico Students Take Top Honors at Statewide Research Competition

Date: 05-17-2016

Zachary Phillips
Public Affairs

Sharon Barrios
Associate Dean, Office of Graduate Studies

Eleven California State University, Chico students competed in the 30th Annual CSU Student Research Competition April 29 and 30, 2016, hosted by CSU, Bakersfield, and two students took home top honors in their individual sessions.

Anna Bartel, a graduate student in the interdisciplinary studies and international cognitive visualization programs, won first place in the behavioral and social sciences session for her paper “Impact of Appearance-Based Trait Inferences of Political Candidates on Comprehension of Contradictory Texts.” The paper analyzes the possible impact of a voter’s philosophical orientation, coupled with a political candidate’s gender and appearance, on the voter’s perception of that candidate as competent. Psychology professor Neil H. Schwartz served as her faculty adviser.

Brian Ellis, a kinesiology graduate student, placed second in the health, nutrition, and clinical sciences for his paper “Influence of High-Intensity Power Training on Central Arterial Stiffness in Young Healthy Subjects.” The paper investigates the largely unknown health effects of a popular workout method. Kinesiology professor Michael Smith served as his faculty adviser.

The following students also competed in the statewide competition with help from their faculty advisers:

  • Jaydeep Bhatia, political science master’s student, and faculty adviser Lori Weber.
  • Charles G. Brooke, biological sciences master’s student, and faculty adviser Emily Nuester.
  • Clara Buchholtz, biology master’s student, and faculty adviser Donald Miller.
  • Kelsey Caldwell, communication studies master’s student, and faculty adviser Jennifer Malkowski.
  • Henry J. Freimuth and Joanne O’Hara, concrete industry management bachelor’s students, and faculty adviser Feraidon Ataie.
  • Neil Jacobson, interdisciplinary studies and international cognitive visualization master’s student, and faculty adviser Neil H. Schwartz.
  • Sarah Knudsen, applied math and physics bachelor’s student, and faculty adviser Anna Petrova-Mayor.
  • Gin Lawson, biological sciences master’s student, and faculty adviser Tag Engstrom. The CSU Student Research Competition is structured much like the local competition hosted annually at CSU, Chico. The competition is divided into sessions based on field of study (behavioral and social sciences, education, physical and mathematical sciences, etc.) as well as student grade standing (undergraduate and graduate).

Within each session, competitors have 10 minutes to deliver a presentation summarizing a previously submitted research project. Following the presentation, competitors undergo a 10-minute question-and-answer session fielding questions from the audience and a panel of expert judges.

The judges then grade each entry (oral presentation and written summary) based on a set of criteria: clarity of purpose; appropriateness of methodology; interpretation of results; value of the research or creative activity; ability to articulate the research and creative activity; organization of the material; and ability to handle questions from the jury.

Sharon Barrios, director of Graduate Studies at CSU, Chico, notes that CSU, Chico has a long-held record of excellent achievement and participation in the local and statewide research competitions. She attributes much of this success to the close mentorship that CSU, Chico students receive from faculty.

“The thing that really does distinguish Chico is that close connection between the faculty and students,” Barrios said. “It’s how we get relatively large numbers of students to participate in the local competition—their faculty are encouraging them and supporting them in that effort.”

Bartel, this year’s first-place winner in the Behavioral and Social Sciences session, said that participating in the competition opened her eyes to all that CSU, Chico has to offer in support of student projects.

“I feel like I live in small cave inside [Modoc Hall],” Bartel said, “but when I went outside of my group and heard my peers present their research, I was really impressed. I had no idea Chico State was producing such good research. I think it’s really important for students to realize that if they have an idea, Chico State has the resources to help them reach that goal.”

For more information on CSU, Chico’s Annual Student Research Competition, visit the Office of Graduate Studies website, or contact Sharon Barrios at sbarrios@csuchico.edu.