PROUD Scholars folder

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Outstanding Alumnus, Research in STEM, &

Christian Montiel • Biology
Christian Montiel earned his B.S. in biology and minor in chemistry from
California State University, Fresno in spring 2017. As a first-generation college
student, motivated by his parents, Christian devoted endless hours working
as an analyst aspiring to obtain a Ph.D. Christian’s ambition and determination lead him to the mentorship of Dr. Hwan Youn, whose research utilized Escherichia coli as a model organism in their laboratory. Under the guidance of Dr. Youn, Christian was given the project of characterizing zinc effect on YdeH, a diguanylate cyclase, and its zinc-site mutant, which may negatively regulate the activity of YdeH. YdeH is one the of 14 Escherichia coli diguanylate cyclases containing a motif, which is essential for the synthetization of cyclic di-GMP. Christian’s work focused on experimenting with the effects of zinc on their in vitro enzyme activities. He presented his research at the 2017 CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) Symposium and the 2017 Central California Research Symposium (CCRS). Christian
demonstrated resilience and diligence within the classroom, research, and helping students. In CSU-LSAMP and as vice president of the campus Society for the Advancement for Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Chapter, Christian set forth to help students interested in research. To further pursue his research, Christian is continuing in the Biology Master’s program at California State University, Fresno with plans to pursue his Ph.D. program in microbiology with ultimate goals of becoming a professor, serving as a mentor, and encouraging underserved students to pursue research.

Kevin Muthima • Chemistry
Kevin Muthima earned his B.A. in chemistry at California State University,Fresno with minors in biology and mathematics. Kevin became a leader in the CSU-LSAMP program, taking a role as a Peer Mentor to incoming freshmen and transfer students. He became passionate about helping his peers and decided to tutor students and also serve as an Academic Excellence Workshop (AEW) Facilitator in general chemistry and organic chemistry. While discovering a passion for helping students through teaching and peer mentoring, Kevin was granted the opportunities to conduct research in two different laboratories. Under the guidance of Dr. Ulrike Muller, Kevin conducted work related to vertebrate morphology, where he explored how the size ratios of the bones of quadrupeds compared to those of bipeds in relation to geometric scaling and elastic scaling. Under the mentorship of Dr. Qiao-Hong Chen and CSU-LSAMP support, Kevin conducted research over a two-year span in synthetic medicinal organic chemistry. In Dr. Chen’s lab, he was involved in projects synthesizing analogues of the natural products curcumin and fisetin. These products have promising anticarcinogenic activities towards prostate cancer cells. The analogues and intermediates synthesized were for exploring methods of ideal synthesis, in addition to bioavailability, and cytotoxicity studies. He had the opportunity to present his research in various local research symposiums. Kevin continues synthetic medicinal organic chemistry research while pursuing a Master’s degree in chemistry at California State University, Fresno with aspirations to continue to doctoral level studies while maintaining a passion for mentoring other students.
Shoghig Haverj Stanboulian • Biology
In May 2017, Shoghig Haverj Stanboulian graduated with a B.S. in biology from California State University, Fresno. Beginning her sophomore year, she started conducting research in developmental biology under the mentorship of Dr. Alejandro Calderon-Urrea. Her undergraduate experience focused on screening nematicidal compounds on Caenorhabditis elegans. With the guidance of her faculty mentor, Haverj developed an interest in genetics, specifically in pathways that are responsible in enhancing
and repressing genes. To further pursue her interest, Haverj participated
in a summer Amgen Scholars Program at Stanford University where she
studied fiber depended shifts of the human gut metaproteome, under
the mentorship of Dr. Michael Snyder. Haverj presented her research at
various conferences and symposiums, including the Annual Society for
the Advancement of Chicano/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science
(SACNAS) National Conference, Stanford Summer Research Program
Symposium, and the Central California Research Symposium. Haverj’s
success transcends the research lab and into her community and leadership
activities. Haverj served as a Supplemental Instruction Leader for Biology
and Organic Chemistry and participated in CSU-LSAMP student research
panels. Haverj is pursuing her Ph.D. studies at the University of California Los
Angeles in the field of gene regulation.

Omoshola Aleru • Biology
Omoshola (Shola) Aleru graduated from California State University, Fresno with a B.S. in biology. Her research training spanned three years in two laboratories, along with her involvement in STEM and pre-doctoral organizations which prepared and further solidified her goal of a doctoral degree. Her research experiences began under the supervision of Dr. Mamta Rawat, where her main project dealt with the isolation and enrichment of Bacillus, Actinomycetes and Cyanobacteria species collected from the local environment, with the goal of discovering novel antibiotics. With guidance from Dr. Rawat and other lab members, she drafted genome sequences of two Bacillus and one Solibacillus species. This work in discovering the Bacillus sequences and annotations was published in Genome Announcements. During the summer of 2015, she was an Amgen Scholar at the California Institute of Technology working with Dr. William Clemons, where
she worked on integral membrane proteins specifically mutating a rhomboid protease, GlpG, using error-prone PCR to test levels of expression. Shola presented her work related to both laboratories at various conferences, including the Annual Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Conference, CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) Symposium, and the Central California Research Symposium. Shola was a recipient of various scholarships, including the community service award. She also served in multiple community service and leadership roles, including Richter Center Ambassador and president of the campus SACNAS chapter. Shola is continuing her studies in a biology Ph.D. program at the University of Oregon.