Demonstrating the University’s commitment to engage and promote quality student research, Cal State San Marcos student-finalists outperformed the competition at the CSU’s 25th annual Student Research Competition. Hosted at Fresno State University on May 6 and 7, two CSUSM students earned first place in their division with three securing second place at the annual statewide contest.

A total of 187 projects were presented this year with CSUSM and San Francisco State yielding the highest number of total winners -- five students from each campus earned first or second place. The system-wide event featured the best research and scholarly projects from more than 225 students representing 21 of the 23 California State University campuses, including 10 delegates from Cal State San Marcos.

Two undergraduates from CSUSM, Dalziel Soto and Samantha Lang, each ranked first in their respective category and earned the title of Outstanding Presenter. Soto, who was mentored by Professor Jeff Nessler, shared his kinesiology research on Preserving Lower Limb Muscle Function Following Spinal Cord Injury: Optimizing Robotic Training Techniques in the Health, Nutrition, and Clinical Sciences category. In the undergraduate division of Biological and Agricultural Sciences, Lang, who is a student of Biological Sciences Professor Deborah Kristan, presented findings from her research titled Chronic Calorie Restriction Increased Mouse Immune Response but Did Not Protect against Parasite Infection.

Runners-up included psychology graduate student Marianne Klumph, who placed second in the Behavioral and Social Sciences graduate category for her research project with Professor Keith Trujillo on Adolescents Show an Enhanced Behavioral Response to Dissociative Drugs; communication undergraduate Maria-Isabel Rocha, who worked with Professor Arcela Nunez-Alvarez for her interdisciplinary research on Linking Coachella Farmworkers to Vital Resources; and psychology undergraduate Michelle Calderwood for her work with Professor Keith Trujillo on Behavioral Effects of Ketamine Depend on Route of Administration, which was presented in the Behavioral and Social Sciences undergraduate category.

The ten delegates, which included eight undergraduates and two graduate students, advanced to the statewide competition to represent CSUSM after being selected from among 37 student researchers at the campus-wide contest held earlier in February. Research topics presented at the campus- and system-wide competitions went beyond the traditional physical sciences and included research and creative activities that span the full range of academic programs and disciplines offered within the CSU.

While at the 25th annual CSU Student Research Competition, students shared their investigative projects to juries of professional experts from major corporations, foundations, public agencies, colleges and universities in California. Based on the jurors’ recommendations, cash awards were provided to the outstanding presenter and runner-up in undergraduate and graduate divisions of each category. Since the annual competition was first introduced in 1987, more than 4,000 CSU students have presented their findings.

To learn more about research programs and initiatives at CSUSM, visit www.csusm.edu/gsr.

A total of 187 projects were presented this year with CSUSM and San Francisco State yielding the highest number of total winners -- five students from each campus earned first or second place.