On Thursday, Feb 23, 215 students will be sharing knowledge gleaned from years of study and research at California State University, Dominguez Hills. It’s the Seventh Annual CSU Dominguez Hills Student Research Day.
Open to undergraduate and graduate students, and 2011 alumni, the day-long event in the Loker Student Union will feature scholarly research and creative works in the fields of behavioral and social sciences; biology; business and public administration; computer science; creative arts; health, nutrition, and clinical science; humanities and letters; and physical and mathematical science. Students giving oral presentations will be judged by panels of faculty members and community members with relevant credentials, and top presenters will receive $100 each.
Students will be presenting their projects orally using slides or with posters containing details of their project. Visitors may ask questions to better understand the research, scholarly or creative activity of each student. A full list of oral presentation and poster abstracts are on the CSU Student Research Day web site, and small PDF copies of the posters can be emailed to those who are interested in receiving a copy electronically.
Taking on the task of coordinating the event this year was a logical step for Louis Mark Carrier, professor and chair of the psychology department. He has served as a judge and has been involved as a faculty mentor almost every year the event has been offered.
Mentors work with students for months or a year. In some cases, students are recruited to help with projects in a faculty member’s line of research, area of scholarship or art. In other cases, a course that involves a large project or paper results with a student who has a project that he/she is proud of and want to share.
While it takes plenty of time and dedication to be a presenter, it’s also a hefty project to organize Student Research Day, which will feature 140 presentations and an awards reception. An organizing committee of 10 faculty, staff and administrators, have done a variety of tasks such as fundraising, filing paperwork, and coordinating event sites. There’s also a student committee of 20 who share various duties above and beyond their coursework and other responsibilities. The student committee is led by Vasquez who organizes student volunteers, assembles materials including the event program and schedule, and prepares the awards.
Psychology major Leslie Vasquez, who led the event’s student committee and is also presenting at the event, said, “I’d tell [students] what’s in it for them; it’s an opportunity to share with people from different departments what their work was about, and that being able to include presentation skills on their CV is a benefit of presenting at Student Research Day.”
Making pitches to students in classrooms seems to have had an impact; this will be the largest CSUDH Student Research Day to date, and according to Carrier, it is larger than similar events at other CSU campuses.
Carrier said the largest area of growth in participation has been in creative arts –it’s the first year that creative arts will be presenting, with entrants in painting, ceramics, digital media arts, and dance.
In an Escher-esque fashion, some student projects presented are focused on recruiting more students to future Student Research Days. Digital media arts student Jason Hernandez’s presentation will be excerpts from a short documentary he is working on about the event, which will include in-depth presenter interviews and footage from the day.
Prospective students will be able to learn how they can become involved in subsequent research days, and even have an opportunity to meet with possible future mentors of their own.
Students at CSU Student Research Day will be competing for one of the 10 spots to go on to the statewide 26th Annual California State University Student Research Competition to be held at CSU Long Beach on May 4 and 5. But Carrier said the day is more than a competition, but rather a demonstration of the integral role students play in scholarship produced by faculty.
“Scholarship means contributing to knowledge in a field, not just teaching. When a teacher is done in the classroom they go back to their office, lab or studio and create new knowledge. And that’s done with the help of students. Scholarship is one of the driving forces behind the reputation of a campus,” said Carrier. “Contributing to knowledge and being on the forefront of knowledge in a field – that’s what all our student presenters are doing. They’re creating new art, new forms of expression, new knowledge in scientific disciplines.”
Family and friends are encouraged to attend and help celebrate the achievements of students and their faculty mentors throughout the day.
Student presenters, faculty mentors, judges and volunteers are invited to attend the reception from 5 to 7 p.m. with the presentation of awards at 6 p.m., in the University Library, 5th floor of the South Wing, hosted by Dean Sandra Parham and the CSUDH University Library.
The Seventh Annual CSU Dominguez Hills Student Research Day is sponsored in part by Associated Students, Inc., Allergan, Black Faculty and Staff Association, Vanessa Black, George Marsh Applied Cognition Laboratory, Louis M. Carrier, Jr., International Honor Society in Psychology, Brad and Paula Moore, Office of the Provost, Office of Research and Funded Projects, Schools Federal Credit Union, Shell Oil Company, University Catering/Pepsi, University Library, and Ludivina Vasquez.