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CSUB Student Research Competition Winners
  April 6, 2006
Mike Stepanovich, 661/654-2456,,
or Jaclyn Loveless, 661/654-2138,

Seven students from California State University, Bakersfield representing various disciplines won awards at the CSUB Student Research Competition. These students are eligible to compete at the 20th annual CSU Student Research Competition May 5-6 at CSU Channel Islands.

The seven students are:

Physical and Mathematical Sciences

- Alexander Todd, a graduate student, whose presentation is titled "Interacting Charge Quasiparticles in a Strong Magnetic Field: Analytical Results for Bound States in the Lowest Landau Level." His faculty advisor is Alexander Dzyubenko. Todd tied for first place at the CSUB Student Research Competition.
- Jeffrey Butler, a graduate student, whose presentation is titled "Identification of the Active Criegee Intermediate Via Organic Syntheses, Photolysis, and Inert Matrices." His faculty advisor is Carl Kemnitz. Butler tied for first at the CSUB Student Research Competition
- Elizabeth Pacheco, an undergraduate in the physical and mathematical sciences discipline. Her presentation is titled "Statistical Analysis of Motor Neurons During the Anticipatory Phase of a Movement." Her faculty mentor is Sam Behseta. Pacheco took second place at the CSUB Student Research Competition.

Humanities and Social Sciences

- Dee Bailey, a graduate student, presented in research "The effects of a high fat calorically restricted diet and acute administration of fluoxetine in an animal model of depression." His faculty advisor is Isabel Sumaya. Bailey took first placed in the humanities and social sciences category.
- Deanna Heikkinen, a graduate student, whose presentation is titled "Descriptive Analysis of Coptic Textiles Associated with Christian Mummies from Tell El-Hibbeh, Middle Egypt," took second place in this category. Her faculty mentor is Robert Yohe.
- Susan Rutledge, a graduate student, whose presentation titled "Substance Abuse Recovery and the Relief of Symptoms of Depression through Physical Exercise," took third place in this category. Her faculty mentor is Debra Morrison-Orton.
- Tamara Ritter, whose presentation is titled "Are All Sports Created Equal? Examining Relationship Between Sports Participation and Risky Behaviors in Adolescents," took first place in this category as an undergraduate student. Her faculty mentor is Tanya Boone

The CSU's 20th annual Student Research Competition provides an opportunity for both undergraduate and graduate students to present their outstanding research projects, papers or creative activities. The purpose is to also promote excellence in scholarly research.

Todd, Butler and Pacheco will represent CSUB and the physical and mathematical sciences in the CSU-wide student research competition.

Pacheco's research, Behseta said "is interesting research coming from a math background." As an undergraduate student, Pacheco had to use elaborate techniques that went beyond her undergraduate material. In her study, Pacheco looked at prior neuroscientists' work on neurons or brain cells in monkeys. She also looked at the motor cortex, which is in charge of movement, Behseta said.

The monkeys in the prior research were studied to distinguish between planned and unplanned movement patterns. Pacheco used probabilistic Bayesian methods to analyze conditions of movement during the time period prior to the monkeys hitting a screen that displayed random and non-random sequences of sensory linked effects. Through analysis of the large data set provided by prior research, Pacheco found that 70 percent of the neurons studied were not distinguished between learned and unlearned movement, Behseta said.

Under Kemnitz's mentorship, Butler has been working toward understanding the reaction of ozone with carbon-carbon double bonds. "Ozone is partly responsible for ill health caused by smog, and it reacts with the double bonds in your lungs in a reaction called ozonolysis. I am very proud of Jeff's performance in the research competition," Kemnitz said. Butler's goal of this project is to fully understand this type of chemical reaction. "Jeff's accomplishments are noteworthy because his chemical compound is tricky to make due to its thermal instability."

Likewise, in humanities and social sciences, faculty mentors have also given accolades to student researchers Ritter, Rutledge, Bailey and Heikkinen.

Boone, Ritter's faculty mentor, said, "Tamara is creative in her research idea and is a good student." In Ritter's research, she studied whether there was a relationship between sports participation and risky behaviors in adolescents.

Ritter was a swimmer in high school, Boone said, and she became interested in looking at individualized sports and whether certain sports caused athletes to be more sexually active. According to Boone, Tamara is planning to present her research, along with some other aspects of the research that was left out of the CSUB competition, at the Western Psychological meeting later this month in Palm Springs.

Yohe, Heikkinen's faculty mentor, said that "she is a great researcher. Her experience in the field has made her successful." Heikkinen's research topic came about because she was interested in the different textiles of the two time periods of Egyptian mummies. The time periods studied were between the "late antique period" and the "Golden age of Egypt." Heikkinen plans to use this research as she looks into working on her master's degree, Yohe said.

The students who will participate in the CSU system-wide competition will make oral presentations before juries of professional experts from major corporations, foundations, public agencies, and colleges and universities in California. Cash awards will be provided to the outstanding presenter and the runner-up in both the undergraduate and graduate divisions of each category

The host campus, CSU Channel Islands, will provide a reception on Friday evening, May 5, and an awards luncheon on Saturday, May 6.

For more information about the student research competition, please contact David Cherin, interim assistant vice president of grants, research and sponsored programs at, (661) 654-3344.