Students take top honorsApril 16, 2007
Kathy Miller, 661/654-2456, firstname.lastname@example.org or
Michele Newel, 661/654-2720, email@example.com
It's rare to bat a thousand – so rare, in fact, that it's practically unheard of.
But that's essentially what three California State University, Bakersfield students did at the recently concluded Alpha Chi Honor Society conference in San Antonio, Texas. Against more than 500 of the brightest American college and university undergraduates, the three students – CSUB's entire delegation – won three of the 16 available awards at the conference, making CSUB the only school to win multiple awards.
"I am so proud of them," said Michael Flachmann, CSUB English professor and advisor to the campus' Alpha Chi chapter. "Imagine 500 of the brightest students in the United States all giving presentations. I took three and they won three huge awards. It's just amazing what they accomplished."
The three are Amy Grundvig, a senior psychology major from Bakersfield; Katrina Rodzon, a senior psychology major from Tehachapi; and Ammar Zanial, a senior biology major originally from New Zealand now living in Bakersfield.
Grundvig and Zanial won the awards for having the best papers in their discipline, while Rodzon won a $1,500 Nolle Scholarship for graduate studies. All three are McNair Scholars at CSUB, which means they maintain a high grade-point average, conduct research, and plan to get doctorates. The stipends they receive for being McNair Scholars cover their costs to attend conferences and for graduate-school applications. Grundvig plans on attending CSUB for her master's degree; Rodzon is heading for San Francisco State University; Zanial is still undecided where to go.
"They can get into any graduate program they want, they are so blindingly bright," Flachmann said.
The students' presentations dealt with a variety of topics:
- Grundvig's paper was on the "attitude and intended discriminatory behaviors toward women who work – women discriminate toward women as much as men do." She said her interest in the topic stemmed from "my family experience; my whole family is conservative; they feel women should be in the home, and I disagree. So my research is very close to home."
- Rodzon said she is "big on equality, so I wanted to look at a question regarding homophobia and attitudes toward lesbian women. Gay rights is big now, so I thought this is an issue that needs to be addressed."
- Zanial's paper "concerned altering the genes of "a common weed found all over the world. I inserted a mutation into the plant's gene, which showed whether the mutated gene affected the physical nature of the plant, the makeup. My preliminary data showed a significant retardation in growth. The plant is comparable to other plants and animals, and findings could very easily be applied to other animals." He said it could lead to improved crop yields and other agricultural benefits.
The three students all said they enjoyed their San Antonio experience, including dinner on the Riverwalk, plus a visit to the Alamo.
Also, Flachmann was re-elected to a four-year term on the Alpha Chi National Council.
The CSUB chapter will have an induction ceremony on Sunday, April 22, in the Dore Theater. For more information about the ceremony or Alpha Chi, please call Flachmann at (661) 654-2121.