MESA Engineering Program/Chico STEM Connections Collaborative

CSC² UGR Program

Summer Undergraduate Research Programs: The programs offer summer undergraduate research (UGR) opportunities. The UGR opportunities are targeted to CSC2 students transitioning from their sophomore to junior year. Students will receive hands-on experience with a research topic in their field of study, learn to balance collaborative and individual work, determine an area of interest, and jump-start their careers as researchers.

Through exposure to research as undergraduates, many students discover their passion for research and continue on to graduate studies and faculty positions. Students receive a stipend for participating in the UGR summer program. 


Effect of Mechanical Vibrations on Oryza Sativa Germination

This unique project has brought together students from the College of Agriculture and the College of Engineering to collaborate and explore the feasibility of using mechanical vibrations to increase the germination rate of rice seed. If germination can be accelerated it could lead to increased productivity, cost efficiency, and higher profits for rice farmers. “We can work together to make the world a better place. We can be more innovative and more impactful in the world” states Melinda Gonzales, an agriculture student working on the project.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Dennis O'Connor and Dr. Garrett Liles
Students: Andres A. Duran, Melinda L. Gonzales, Melissa V. Renteria-Santana, Josue D. Viveros-Martir, Jackelin A. Villegas, Frederick G. Hamblin III


Aerodynamics of Airfoils and Wind Tunnel Characterization

Due to the popularity and success of the Collegiate Wind Competition, an interdisciplinary student competition, research assistants helped contribute to research aimed at testing various airfoil designs in the wind tunnel. Students used Solid Works to modify existing airfoil designs, print airfoils using 3-D printer technology, install printed blades on a rotor, and test and collect data from the wind tunnel using existing data acquisition hardware and software. Data will be used to validate mathematical models and students can help support the data reduction and analysis.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. David Alexander
Students: Edgar Leon and Armando Lopez

Effects of Drinking Water Treatment Residuals on Nitrogen Mineralization in Agricultural Soils

Drinking water treatment uses coagulation to remove suspended particles and dissolved organic matter from surface water. The removal process creates a large waste stream known as drinking water treatment residuals (WTRs). Unlike wastewater sludge, the WTRs are non-hazardous and have been demonstrated to be effective at retaining nutrients in soils, particularly phosphorous. Currently, there is little information available about the effects of residuals on nitrogen cycling in amended soil. This project will exam the effects of water treatment residuals on nitrogen cycling by measuring nitrate release from amended soils.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jack Webster, Department of Civil Engineering
Students: Jonathan Campos and Uriel Dominguez

Natural Sciences

Exploiting the Chemistry of Coenzyme B12 for the Synthesis of Drug-Like Molecules

Drug discovery and development relies heavily on synthetic methods to create new pharmaceuticals. Jenny Caro, a chemistry major, is working with Dr. Dan Everson, a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, on “Exploiting the Chemistry of Coenzyme B12 for the Synthesis of Drug-Like Molecules”. According to Dr. Everson, this research will help develop new methods that use non-precious metal catalysts and reduce hazardous wastes to aid pharmaceutical chemists in their quest for new and better drugs. This experience will also help Jenny reach her goal of becoming a chemist.

Faculty Mentor: Dan Everson, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, CSU, Chico 
Students: Jenny Caro

Physical and Chemical Monitoring of the Hydrothermal System at the Lassen Volcanic Center

Angelica Rodriguez is a geology student conducting research with Dr. Rachel Teasdale, a professor in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences. Her research project on “Monitoring the Lassen Volcanic Center Hydrothermal System” will provide scientists with a better understanding of volcanoes.  When asked why she enjoys research Angie said “You get to ask a question and maybe you get lucky and you answer it. And when you answer a question in science, it makes you want to ask more.”

Faculty Mentor: Rachel Teasdale, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, CSU, Chico 
Students: Angelica Rodriguez

Conservation of Chinook Salmon in the Sacramento River

“California’s salmon populations are in dire straits,” according to Dr. Mandy Banet, an aquatic ecologist in the Department of Biological Sciences. Chinook salmon play a major role in the economy, recreation, culture and the environment. Thus, their growing absence has widespread consequences. Carlos Estrada, a community college transfer student, expected to spend his summer working in a department store. Instead, the biology major is working closely with Dr. Banet on the “Effects of Side Channel Restoration on Juvenile Chinook Salmon.” “I never dreamed I’d be doing this at this point in my life. I think, ‘Wow, I’m getting paid for this.’ I’m very lucky.”

Faculty Mentor: Mandy Banet, Department of Biological Sciences, CSU, Chico
Students: Carlos Estrada