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May 7, 2003


At the College of Science and Engineering's Student Project Showcase held last night (see below), Geoff Kramitz, biomedical laboratory science, was awarded first place in the graduate student category for his work related to the development of specialized human placental cells, and Raymond Wu, chemistry and biochemistry, won first place among undergraduate students for his work on porphyrinic pigments, fluorescent pigments that are used in photodynamic therapy of cancers and other diseases.

Other winners included graduate students Alexander Milowski, math, and Ryan Kendle, cellular and molecular biology, and undergraduates Mike Hoffman, physics and math, and Cornell Wells, physiology.

Several scholarships were also awarded at the event. Laura M. Garrison, ecology and systematic biology, and Toni N. Torres, mathematics, each received a Kenneth and Pamela Fong Scholarship in the amount of $1,250. The Radin Foundation awarded $1,000 scholarships for community service to Bonnie B. Bertolet, cellular and molecular biology; Mark Co, biology; Orville J. Canter, computer science; Luping L. May, computer science; and Haijie Xiao, computer science.

The speed of light is slowing down, seals talk to each other and ships cause traffic noise, according to SFSU science students. The campus community is invited to learn about these and other novel scientific research projects during the College of Science and Engineering's 5th Annual Student Project Showcase and Alumni Reception.

From 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6, the second floor of the Science Building will be transformed into a gallery of scientific displays and demonstrations, highlighting everything from worm digestion and insect metamorphosis, to computer software wizardry and breakthroughs in genetic therapy. More than 60 graduate and undergraduate students from the College's eight departments will compete for more than $2,000 in prize money and the invaluable experience of presenting their research to the public.

"This year we expect a record number of projects showing what our students produce under the direction of our top-notch faculty," said COSE Dean Sheldon Axler, who will announce the showcase award winners during the Alumni Reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Room 201.

"When you embark on a research project, there's always the hope that others will see its potential and the hard work that went into making it successful," said chemistry graduate student Diana Shem, whose DNA research garnered first place in last year's competition. "Winning this prize helped me realize that other faculty and students find my work interesting, and it gave me the confidence to continue my work."

Students competing in this year's showcase share Shem's sentiments. And while winning a cash prize is second-to-none for cash-strapped college students, the opportunity to showcase hard work offers its own rewards.

Kimberley Austin, whose multi-year study of harbor seal vocalizations in the San Francisco Bay is one of the few ever conducted, says she is participating in this year's showcase not just for the chance to win, but for more personal reasons as well.

"I want to share with fellow students and faculty the research I'm so passionate about."

The showcase also serves as a training ground for students. "This is a chance for students to practice their presentation skills in a supportive setting and learn the very important art of communication," adds Lannie Nguyen-Tang, coordinator of alumni relations and student projects for COSE. "It doesn't matter what career they go into -- whether it's biotechnology or engineering -- they need these skills in the real world."

Graduate and undergraduate students will be judged separately, with each division receiving first-, second- and third-place prizes. A panel of 16 faculty members representing the breadth of the College's disciplines will judge the projects. Two first-place winners will receive Kenneth and Pamela Fong Student Excellence Awards, worth $1,200 each. This award is given out annually as part of an endowment provided by the Fongs, both SFSU alums. Second- and third-place winners each will receive $400 and $200.

In addition to announcing the award winners, Dean Axler will announce winners of the College's five Community-Service Scholarships and the two Kenneth and Pamela Fong Scholarships for Biology and Math.

For more information, visit or contact Lannie Nguyen-Tang at (415) 338-7662.

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Last modified May 7, 2003, by the Office of Public Affairs