CLU students win summer research grants

27 undergraduates pursue range of projects full time

Monday, Jul. 22, 2013 12:28 pm

The students are working with guidance from faculty mentors including biology professor David Marcey.


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(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – July 22, 2013) Twenty-seven undergraduate students are conducting full-time research at California Lutheran University this summer with the help of more than $150,000 in grants.

A faculty committee awarded fellowships from the university and the California Wellness Foundation based on students’ written proposals and academic performance. With guidance from faculty mentors, the students are working on a wide range of projects.

Under Swenson Science Summer Research Fellowships, 14 students are conducting research in the natural sciences. For example, Jeremy Anderson, a bioengineering major from Moorpark, and Carmen Cotsis, a biology major from Ojai, are studying the survival rates of mouse stem cells growing in different lab environments. Exercise science majors Ryan Giatt of Simi Valley and Mason Hill of Tacoma, Wash., are researching lifestyle factors associated with toddler activity levels to address childhood obesity. Chemistry majors Hillis Johnson of Livermore and Bryan Simmons of Santa Clarita are researching ways to make organic compounds for use in solar cells and other organic electronics. Cristian Plascencia, an exercise science major from Camarillo, is testing the ability of a whole-body vibration plate to enhance muscular performance. Kristen Prosser, an exercise science major from Camarillo, is comparing strength and bone density for adults with different forms of osteoarthritis.

Three global studies majors received Pearson Scholars Summer Program fellowships. They include San Marcos resident Danielle Lindamood, who is exploring levels of education and political involvement and other trends among Ethiopian immigrants living in Southern California.

Four students received Darling Summer Research Fellowships for computationally driven projects. For example, Marilyn Arceo, a computer science major from Artesia, is developing artificial intelligence models to find solutions for functions related to math and chemistry. Morgan Swaidan, a physics major from Ventura, is working to program a test for recurring natural phenomena that could be applied to differential equations used to model these patterns.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships are funding projects in disciplines not supported by other university research programs for five students. Kate Cabebe, a communication major from Camarillo, is developing a mobile gaming simulation to teach students about crisis management in public relations, and Malina Keaton, a theology and Christian leadership major from Castro Valley, is researching how various Christian denominations articulate views on such issues as sex, marriage and homosexuality.

Philip Albornoz, a chemistry major from Barstow, is testing Ventura County farm soil and farmers’ urine samples for pesticides with a fellowship from the California Wellness Foundation.