SDSU Undergraduate Research Program Projects for 2023


College of Arts & Letters

Callie Summerlin and Cara Higashi are working with Trent Biggs. They are investigating water quality in the Tijuana Estuary and near the Imperial Beach pier using satellite imagery and a remote-controlled boat system.

Hazel Fernandez and Tasha Murphy are working with professor Daniel Davis to examine the various factors that influence undergraduate students' career decisions. The students are analyzing over 2,000 surveys and 200 interviews.
Audrey Lacher, with mentorship from economist Hisham Foad, is identifying factors that underlie  differences in socioeconomic outcomes among immigrants that arrived as adults, teenagers, youth, toddlers and infants.
Hattie Jenkins, mentored by Ryan Abman, is evaluating whether a program intended to curb illegal deforestation in Latin America and Africa was effective based on satellite data of forest coverage and economic data.
Jennifer Tam is comparing test scores of children born close to a North Carolina racing track before and after NASCAR switched to using unleaded racing fuel with mentorship from Ron Shadbegian.
Rocky Carchano and Hanna Tekle, advised by Alvin Henry, are studying how SDSU Arts & Letters majors prepared for their careers during and after college through conducting interviews and creating videos for future students.
Gabriel Doyle is mentoring Christopher Fisher and Emily McHale on a project to understand patterns in ChatGPT's generation of untrue statements to aid in detection and recognition of factual information.


College of Education


Chelsea Malicdem, with guidance from Mary Baker-Ericzen, is evaluating the effectiveness of a virtual reality driving system to teach neurodiverse teens and adults how to drive.

Felisha Herrera Villarreal is mentoring Daniela Hernandez and Alexis Reynoso to understand how community college students' participation in STEM research and internships affects their persistence and success in STEM fields.

Brianna Maldonado and Aoi Mori are assisting mentor Sarah Rieth with a randomized clinical trial for caregivers to aid in the cognitive and social development of toddlers with autism.


College of Engineering


Baris Aksanli's student Josef Miller is setting up experiments to test the efficiency of a solar-powered Bluetooth device used to measure distance among groups of wild animals.
Jennifer Hong with professor Jun Chen will develop a model using real and simulated flight data to improve drone landing and avoidance maneuvers.
Paul Kauvaka and Courtney Olivier in George Youssef's lab will design and analyze the strength of a 3D-printed racecar suspension system.
Trinity Magdalena and Alexi Olney are working with Natalie Mladenov to figure out how plastic materials breakdown in inland watersheds and estimate how microbial pathogens are transported in coastal waters.
Charisma Tanaka-Herrera and Aaliyah Ringor are creating new ways to detect the source of fecal pollution based on DNA markers from three different microbes alongside professor Matthew Verbyla.
Sara Adibi will mentor Karam Alshaikh and Luis Laurean to gather computational data to train new AI models to design new materials.
Alexander Cherry and Kyler Brown are working with John Kang to analyze sensor data to improve powder-based additive manufacturing.
Marta Miletic's student Sama Ahmed will investigate the suitability of biomaterials like compost, biochar and natural fibers for new construction materials.


College of Health and Human Services


Peter Torre is training Ty Nguyen and Natalie Ybarrondo to conduct hearing tests and ear evaluations to gather data on concert and festival attendees' potential hearing damage.
Ana Santos Olea and Sofia Spies will learn to interview other college students about their physical activity and then qualitatively analyze the data with mentor Ashleigh Johnson.
Alyson Abel Mills is advising Alishba Chaudhary and Noelle Villeagas to use EEG to study how children neurocognitively process the meaning of words.
Kari Sant's students Raegan Lunceford and Elora Shakoor will work alongside community researchers to figure out how toxins in runoff from weed farming and mining impact fish reproduction.
Nyla McGlory and Andrea Meza will create, deliver and analyze the effectivness of culturally appropriate nutrition education materials with Amanda McClain.


College of Professional Studies & Fine Arts


With professor Yin Yu, Gina Ferguson and Brad Leroy Dela Llana are digitally modeling wearable technology devices with novel bio-inspired materials and forms.
Chris Warren is mentoring Graham Sanders to create an intuitive audio mixing controller to enable more artists to design for surround sound environments.
Bianca Augusto, alongside professor Erica Redner-Vera, wil conduct field research and surveys with American Indian Youth in Southern California to understand their experiences with racism, discrimination, and the criminal justice system.
Isabella Todd and Siham Ismail are working with Tereza Trejbalova and the San Diego Police Department to review case files and conduct interviews with people whose sentences have been reduced through the Fresh Start program.
Jessica McGaugh is mentoring Jordan Eichhorn and Jessica Ebert to produce a bilingual, international female-centric feature-length film about one woman's journey with infertility and competing on a reality TV show.
Jess Humprey's students Cashle Schoettle and Alyssa Moreno will adapt dance librettos and research the embodied experience of emotions in their performance.


College of Sciences


Justin Shorty and Liliana Torres, with Donatella Zona, will collect data on emissions of nitrous oxide - an understudied yet powerful greenhouse gas - in the Arctic, where permafrost has degraded.
Faith Poutoa and mentor Matt Anderson will develop methods to analyze temporal information about fluorescing compounds in water pollutants and biological molecules.
Mena Shammas, in Carrie House's lab, will determine which proteins are needed for cancer stem-like cells to survive with the eventual goal of reducing recurrence of ovarian cancer.
Ashley Simard will analyze fMRI data to identify gender differences in decision-making in binge drinkers with mentor Ksenija Marinkovic.
Samuel Angell and Dylan Keane, with mentorship from Jennifer Thomas, will asses how choline and exercise could help improve the quality of life of individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
Walt Oechel's student Lyric Talplacido will monitor how much water is lost from grapevines at SDSU's Santa Margarita Ecolocial Reserve.
Marian Carbajal and Mia Quintana will interview and survey participants in the first in-person delivery of a previously successful physical and mental health program with guidance from Elva Arredondo.
Aneesa Mahmood will catalog insect specimens from restored prairie areas as part of Nicholas Barber's lab.
Meredith Yokoyama will help Lluvia Flores-Rentería's team assess genetic and morphological traits that might contribute to drought tolerance in a culturally and ecologically significant tree species.
Camille Movafagian with mentor Ryan Buck, will collect seeds and plant pinyon pine trees that are genetically more likely to produce more seeds to help prevent extinction of the species.
Audrey Ruster, mentored by Miguel Villodas, will statistically analyze a large, longitudinal dataset to understand how childhood trauma affects relationships with peers.
Paulina Vallejo will test hypotheses about the relationship between being placed in foster care and risk behaviors in early adolescence, under the guidance of Feion Villodas.
Larsa Gorges, in Catherine Schrankel's lab, will grow stem cells to identify proteins that help sea urchins and mammals protect themselves from toxins in their environment.


Fowler College of Business


Melissa Lam, with mentor Lin Wang, will examine how female accounting leaders were affected socially and economically while working remotely during the pandemic.


Imperial Valley Campus


Lauren Johnston and Malia Huff will assess the impact of a service-learning experience in a community health nursing course with mentor Shiloh Williams.