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CSUB Student Receives Graduate Student-Faculty Collaborative Initiative Award

California State University, Bakersfield geological sciences graduate student Salvador Vargas recently received the Graduate Student-Faculty Collaborative Initiative Award in Research and Scholarship for academic year 2018-2019.

His project, “Dissolved Rare Earth Elements Along Oxygen Gradient,” examines Rare Earth Element (REE) behavior along a redox gradient off the coast of San Diego. He is collaborating with his advisor, Dr. Chandranath Basak, assistant professor of geological sciences.

“Mr. Vargas is working on an important and timely research topic,” said Dr. Basak. “Although the ocean currently has very little dissolved REEs, little is known about how REEs may be affected by global warming.”

Vargas is collecting samples of seawater off the coast of San Diego and analyzing these samples to determine the relationship between REE abundances and rates of dissolved oxygen. By comparing REE behavior in samples taken close to the coastline to those taken from the open oceans, he can better understand how REEs will be affected if oxygen levels decrease.

CSUB’s Graduate Student Center offers Graduate Student-Faculty Collaborative Initiatives to support student projects focused on research and scholarship, community engagement, or teaching and pedagogy. The initiative carries a $1,250 award for the student and $250 for the faculty mentor.

Forty-seven awards have been granted since the program was established in 2013. For more information, contact CSU Bakersfield’s Graduate Student Center at (661) 654-2786 or visit

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