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Students win top CSU honors

June 19, 2007

Photo of Natasha ChandiramaniStudents from molecular biology, elementary education and design and industry took home first place awards in the 21st annual California State University Research Competition held May 4 and 5 on the CSU Dominguez Hills campus. They were among ten SF State student researchers selected to compete this year in a field of 168 from the 23-campus CSU system.

Natasha Chandiramani took the top award in the Biological and Agricultural Sciences category for research on the role of synthesized nitric oxide in the development of skeletal muscle in chicken embryos. "Our goal is to figure out the pathway that makes stem cells into muscle cells," she said. The findings will be valuable in combating muscular degenerative diseases. Chandiramani, who began her work two years ago under the direction of Wilfred Denetclaw, assistant professor of biology, said. "I was very fortunate to get involved in this research as an undergraduate." Chandiramani received a B.S. in biology, cell and molecular structure in May. A native of Bangalore, India and resident of Burlingame, Chandiramani is seeking a professional position in the U.S. biotech industry.

Photo of Nicholle CrowtherNicholle Crowther, a master's candidate in elementary education, earned first place in the Education category with her master's thesis research. A third-grade teacher at White Oaks elementary school in San Carlos, she partnered with a second-grade teacher to measure reading comprehension among groups of second- and third-grade students to determine if they learned more effectively in same-age or mixed-aged groups. Crowther analyzed data and test scores and identified trends in student comprehension to prove that it would be advantageous to integrate multiage groupings during instruction. The research process is nothing new to Crowther, a native of Lake Almanor, Calif. and Belmont resident. "As a teacher, I conduct research in the classroom every day," she said. Her research was advised by Jane Bernard Powers, professor of elementary education.

Photo of Paul JacksonPaul Jackson, an undergraduate major in design and industry, evaluated and redesigned the signage in the University's J. Paul Leonard Library to make the collections easier to navigate. "As a design student, usability is an obsession," said Jackson. "All too often library patrons are made to feel inadequate because they cannot find what they are looking for due to signage that lacks a graphic identity." Jackson designed color coded maps and used a typeface popular in airports to develop more effective signage that clearly delineated where to find each floor's books, periodicals, resources, facilities and exits. Jackson added that the project was especially satisfying because it allowed him to "give back to the school." He conducted his research under the advisement of Paul Catanese, assistant professor of design and industry.

Other SF State participants in the CSU Research Competition were Asia Matthews (psychology), Rachel Kesel (geography), Shinchieh Duh (psychology), Jennifer Krauel (biology), Benjamin Tarne (music), Peter Polito (physical and mathematical sciences/geology) and Lindsay Saint Clair (humanities).

-- Denize Springer


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Last modified June 19, 2007 by University Communications