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Art Installation a Labor of Love for Student Artists

​For San Diego State University School of Art and Design artists​,​ displaying their artwork at the public art galleries on the San Diego campus is ​a labor of love.​

Scale, form, color, technique – artists consider each aspect carefully when exhibiting their work to the public. 

In October, the School of Art and Design galleries presents the Script/Rescript Graduate Review Exhibition featuring the artwork of ten artists who use historical and contemporary medicalizing scripts of their own bodies to colorfully rescript – or rewrite – visual language attributed to individual conditions of disability.  MFA students prepare and display their own artwork, and for many it’s their first time presenting and preparing their artwork for a public exhibition.  

“A lot of your work is based on theory and critical analysis and research. A lot of us have work that you are trying to experiment [with] and get a better understanding of if it works in the gallery space, how you exhibit the work, how you want the viewer to engage the work” said Robyn North, a MFA student displaying work at the exhibition. “Scale, form, color… we’ve had a lot of conversations trying to figure this out.” 

Finding The Toxic ‘Needle In a Haystack’

The eternal afterlife of tiny trash.  

It’s not something most young girls think about. But Eunah Hoh did. 

“I always knew I’d be a scientist,” said the San Diego State University public health researcher. “I was good at math and I loved reading books about invisible things.” 

Many kids long for superpowers to uncover hidden secrets. But as a child, Hoh experienced the real magic of discovery from her dad — a research and development scientist for the South Korean defense department. 

“When my dad returned from his many work trips to the U.S., he brought me encyclopedias and books from NASA and science museums,” she said, “I devoured them, and my fascination for invisible molecules and mysteries grew stronger.” 

Hoh’s dad encouraged her scientific curiosity, advising her to pursue chemistry in college. She complied, won over by his insistence that chemistry contains the basic, and often invisible, building blocks of life. 

Training Tomorrow's Engineers

Buzzing with over a dozen student researchers, Satchi Venkataraman’s aerospace engineering lab is developing new composite materials to use in planes, spacecraft and potential lunar dwellings. With funding from the California Space Grant Consortium, he is training talented and diverse students to be the research engineers of tomorrow.

“One of the core values of my lab is to learn to be a mentor to others and help those just starting in research,” Venkataraman said.

Venkataraman was scrolling through Etsy looking for gift ideas when he stumbled upon a metal cast of a fire ant nest. He added it to his cart with his mind full of new ideas about how this could help him answer research questions about nature-inspired materials.

Now that first cast and another with a green sheen sit on the desks of aerospace engineering master’s student Tyler Felgenhauer and undergraduate engineering student Emma Topolcsik. They are trying to determine how the air-filled tunnels and cavities manage to not collapse under the pressure of surrounding dirt or creatures passing over the surface.

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Supporting Sustainable Food and Agriculture Training for Latinx Students

Climate change and a host of other factors increase food insecurity, which disproportionately impacts Latinx and other underserved communities in our region. Now, San Diego State University has received a four-year, $1 million grant from the U.S.Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture to train Latinx students for careers in sustainable agriculture and food science.

“Many of our underrepresented students have faced a lot of cumulative educational and social barriers to higher education and also to being engaged and contributing to solving food security and sustainability problems,” said lead principal investigator Pascale Joassart-Marcelli, a geographer and director of SDSU’s food studies program. She says the grant aims to change that.