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Three SF State students take top prize at state research competition



Denize Springer
SF State Office of Public Affairs & Publications
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Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications


Research on skeletal muscle development, learning and library signage placed first in their categories

SAN FRANCISCO, June 15, 2007 - Molecular biology, elementary education and design and industry students from San Francisco State took home first place awards in the 21st annual California State University Research Competition in May.

Undergraduate 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 formation 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 research two years ago, said "I was very fortunate to get involved in this research as an undergraduate." She received a B.S. in biology, cell and molecular structure in May. A native of Bangalore, India and resident of Burlingame, Chandiramani is looking for a professional position in the U.S. biotech industry.

Nicholle Crowther, a master's candidate in elementary education, captured first place in the Education category. 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 the students learned more effectively in groups of same-age or mixed-aged classmates. Crowther analyzed data and test scores and identified trends in student comprehension to prove that it would be advantageous for educators to integrate multiage groupings during instruction. Crowther, a Belmont resident and native of Lake Almanor, California, said "as a teacher, I conduct research in the classroom every day."

Paul Jackson, an undergraduate in design and industry, evaluated and redesigned the signage in the University's J. Paul Leonard Library to make the collection 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." The Berkeley native and Oakland resident 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.

The annual CSU research competition selects participants from the 23-campus system. This year, ten SF State students were chosen to compete in the field of 168 competitors. The SF State team also included 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).

SF State is the only masters-level public university serving the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin. The University enrolls about 29,000 students each year and graduates about 7,000 annually. With nationally acclaimed programs in a range of fields - from creative writing, cinema and biology to history, broadcast and electronic communication arts, theatre arts and ethnic studies - the University's more than 150,000 graduates have contributed to the economic, cultural and civic fabric of San Francisco and beyond.


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Last modified June 15, 2007, by the Office of Public Affairs & Publications