CSU-LSAMP Program for Recognition of Undergraduate Distinction (PROUD)

The CSU-LSAMP Program for Recognition of Undergraduate Distinction (CSU-LSAMP PROUD) is a program designed to recognize and highlight the achievements of our outstanding CSU-LSAMP students. Each year, the Statewide Office will request that campuses select four students based upon their achievements such as outstanding academic performance, research accomplishments, service, leadership, or personal triumph. These PROUD Scholars are featured in the annual CSU-LSAMP PROUD publication.

Please visit links below to see the CSU-LSAMP PROUD Publication that showcases the talents of LSAMP undergraduate student across the CSU-LSAMP alliance by year.

CSU-LSAMP PROUD Scholars 2015 Publication
CSU-LSAMP PROUD Scholars 2014 Publication

2015 CSU-LSAMP Fresno State PROUD Scholars

1ottoAtahualpa Contreras
California State University, Fresno

(CSU,Fresno)
B.S. Biology

Atahualpa Contreras is an undergraduate student pursuing a B.S. in Biology at Fresno State. A first generation college student, Atahualpa spent countless hours working in the agricultural fields of central California, which fueled his determination to attain a college education. After joining LSAMP, Atahualpa participated in the CSU-LSAMP Monterey Bay summer research experience in Costa Rica. There he studied soil characteristics of trails at Volcán Tenorio, a national park, to determine whether tourism along the main hiking trail toward Rio Celeste had an impact on the soil conditions. He presented his summer research at the 2014 Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Conference. With the support of CSU-LSAMP, he is conducting research on campus under the mentorship of Dr. Joseph Ross in a Genetics and Developmental biology laboratory utilizing Caenorhabditis briggsae. His research is focusing on hybrid developmental delay utilizing AF16 strain from Japan and HK104 strain from India. In addition to research, Atahualpa has been very involved in CSU-LSAMP, including serving on student panels encouraging students to participate in international research and serves as a program peer mentor to lower division students. He plays an active role in the Fresno State SACNAS chapter and Biology Club which includes visiting local elementary schools providing hands-on science demonstrations to encourage young students to pursue STEM fields. Atahualpa aspires to pursue a Ph.D. in Biology with an emphasis in genetics and continue a career in academia.

2geilGeil Merana
California State University, Fresno

(CSU,Fresno)
B.S. Biology

Geil Merana is a junior at Fresno State pursuing a B.S. in Biology. Geil’s research interest stemmed from her early undergraduate experience and has strengthened under the mentorship of Chemistry professors Dr. Laurent Dejean and Dr. Alam Hasson. Her undergraduate research is interdisciplinary in nature with a focus on the cellular stress response of macrophages to air pollutants in California. Geil’s research includes the utilization of a fluorescence-based assay to quantify the production of reactive oxygen species produced in cells exposed to particulate matter from different temporal and spatial categories. She plans to use flow cytometry to further characterize the localization of ROS production in these cells. Geil has presented her research progress at the 2015 CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) Symposium and the 2015 Central California Research Symposium. Furthermore, she has been accepted to participate in the 2015 Summer Research Training Program at University of California, San Francisco. In addition to her research, Geil has been a recipient of various scholarships and serves in multiple community service and leadership roles, including CSU-LSAMP Peer Mentor, chemistry tutor on campus, volunteer tutor for a high school Academic Decathlon, current President of the campus Biology Club, and active leader in Nature Club. Geil plans to graduate in May 2016 and pursue a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology

3alexAlexandra Saxberg
California State University, Fresno

(CSU,Fresno)
B.S. Biochemistry

Alexandra is currently pursuing her B.S. in Biochemistry at California State University, Fresno. Early in her academic career, Alexandra received the Dr. Kenneth W. Chan Scholarship for showing strong promise in the field of chemistry research, which she is fulfilling in the research laboratory of Dr. Joy Goto. Under the supervision of Dr. Goto, Alexandra has been conducting research on two projects: researching the effects of neurotoxicity induced by BMAA, an unnatural amino acid produced by cyanobacteria that is hypothesized to induce neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS; and analyzing the biological effects of N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide (DEET) and DEET like analogs. Alexandra was also a summer research intern at SanfordBurnham Medical Research Institute in Dr. Marcus Kaul’s research lab, focusing on HIV-associated neurodegeneration and dementia. Motivated to influence her peers to also conduct research, Alexandra took a more active leadership role and became a founding officer in the Fresno State SACNAS chapter, with the mission to encourage diversity in STEM. This past summer, Alexandra participated in the 2015 US/France/Belgium iREU in translation chemistry at University Paul Sabatier in Toulouse, France. In France, Alexandra worked on characterizing the metal binding ability of BMAA and learn methodology used in Dr. Peter Faller’s research lab to understand how amyloid beta peptide is connected with metals and Alzheimer’s disease. Alexandra plans to pursue a Ph.D. in the area of neuroscience.

4leoLeonardo Velazco-Cruz
California State University, Fresno

(CSU,Fresno)
B.S. Biology

Leonardo (Leo) Velazco-Cruz is pursuing a B.S. in Biology at California State University, Fresno. Beginning his sophomore year, he conducted research in the evolutionary biology laboratory under the mentorship of Dr. Joseph A. Ross. His undergraduate experience has focused on studying the onset of speciation in the nematode Caenorhabditis briggsae. With the guidance of his faculty mentor, Leo has developed an interest in the use of molecular genetics as a tool for the dissection of biological processes leading to scientific discovery and biomedical applications. To further pursue his interest, Leo participated in a summer research fellowship at Washington University where he used patientspecific induced pluripotent stem cells as a system to study telomere dysfunction in Dyskeratosis Congenita patients under the mentorship of Dr. Luis Batista. Leo has presented his research at various conferences including the Annual Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Conference and Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) where he was awarded for his poster presentation. Leo’s success transcends the research lab and continues into his community and leadership activities. He was president of Fresno State’s SACNAS chapter and has successfully led the chapter by increasing its member base and funding. The mission of the chapter is to recruit diverse students interested in STEM, increase opportunities in research, training in presentation and professionalism, and outreach to K-12 students. Leo’s a model CSU-LSAMP student and is focused on pursuing a Ph.D. in the field of regenerative biology and biomedical sciences.

 

2014 CSU-LSAMP Fresno State PROUD Scholars

Emilio Cardenas

 

emilio1Emilio Cardenas
California State University, Fresno

(CSU,Fresno)
B.S. Chemistry

Over the past three years, Emilio Cardenas has conducted research  under the supervision of Dr. Santanu Maitra at CSU Fresno. His research has focused on using wet organic chemistry techniques  to design, synthesize, and characterize a library of small organic molecules for the modulation of apolipoprotein E (apoE). Screening of the small organic molecules has shown that specific structures are responsible for the modulation of apoE in human astrocytoma cells. This finding is of great importance due to the isomeric dependence of apoE being associated with an increased probability of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Emilio’s work on apoE has been published in the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan.Emilio has also worked on the synthesis and characterization of isoprene hydroxyl nitrates (IHN). Mechanistic studies of IHN have allowed his group to better understand how the molecule reacts in different conditions. Specifically, Emilio helped generate multiple IHNs under acidic and non-acidic conditions. Mechanistic studies showed that the preceding reactions did not follow regioselective trends found in the literature. Instead it was found that the same product was formed regardless of the conditions. Emilio has been an active participant in CSU-LSAMP, serving as a role model and facilitator in chemistry academic excellence workshops, and the academic year research program. Equipped with a strong foundation of research experience, Emilio commences a doctoral degree in chemistry at Purdue University in Fall 2014. He hopes to become a professor of chemistry so he can share his passion for discovery with the next generation of scientists.

Eduardo De La Torre

 

2eduardoEduardo De La Torre
California State University, Fresno

(CSU,Fresno)
B.S. Biochemistry

Eduardo is an undergraduate student completing his B.S. degree in Chemistry and California State University, Fresno. A first-generation college student, Eduardo has maintained an impressive major GPA of 4.0 and overall GPA of 3.96, all while conducting research and working on and off campus. Eduardo was selected to be in the Chemistry Honors Program based on his academic achievements. As a CSU-LSAMP Research Program participant, Eduardo developed his interest in research by working under the guidance of Dr. Qiao-Hong Chen. Eduardo’s research involves the study of Genistein, a natural compound that has been shown to have positive effects on prostate cancer cells. Since Genistein has a poor bioavailability, his focus on this research is to synthesize new compounds with improved bioavailability. Eduardo has also served as a chemistry Academic Excellence Workshop facilitator. He has found a passion for helping others not only as an LSAMP facilitator but also as a tutor for the Chemistry Department and the campus tutoring center. As Eduardo begins his final undergraduate year in 2014-15, he plans to pursue a medical career with an interest in research.

Samantha Hartanto

 

3samSamantha Hartanto
California State University, Fresno

(CSU,Fresno)
B.S. Chemistry

Samantha Hartanto is a sophomore pursuing a B.S. in Chemistry at California State University, Fresno. Her research area is microbial biochemistry. She has been involved with research since her freshman year and has contributed to several projects. Under the mentorship of Dr. Mamta Rawat she is studying the roles of thiols, protective antioxidants with a sulfhydryl group, in microorganisms. Dr. Rawat has been extremely pleased with Samantha’s work in the laboratory. Samantha’s dedication to research has earned her several research awards, including the Fresno State faculty-sponsored Student Research Award, the Fresno State Undergraduate Research Award, and the Fresno State ASI Research Grant. Samantha has also been an active participant in the CSU-LSAMP Research Program on campus for the past year. Samantha’s active research activities have led to her selection to represent Fresno State in the 2014 California State University Student Research Competition. Samantha also plans to present her research at additional conferences this year, including the Central California Research Symposium. She aspires to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry.

Andres Nevarez

4andyAndres Nevarez
California State University, Fresno

(CSU,Fresno)
B.S. Biology

Andres completed his B.S. in Biology at California State University, Fresno in May 2014. As an undergraduate student, Andres was actively involved in CSU-LSAMP program activities, including serving as a facilitator for Academic Excellence Workshops in chemistry, and as a peer mentor for lower division students. Andres showed outstanding leadership and professionalism through his hard work founding a SACNAS chapter at Fresno State, which is housed within, and works closely with, CSU-LSAMP. Andres helped mold the SACNAS campus chapter to best benefit not only Fresno State, but also the community. The mission of the chapter is to recruit diverse students interested in STEM, increase opportunities in research, training in presentation and professionalism, and outreach to K-12 students. In addition to his outstanding leadership and outreach efforts, Andres voraciously pursued undergraduate research since his freshman year. Andres worked in two laboratories at Fresno State, focusing on signal transduction and cancer biology. He also broadened his research horizons through summer research experiences at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institution, focusing on cell death pathways and at the University of California, Berkeley, concentrating on computational comparative molecular genomics. Andres is starting his graduate career in Fall 2014 at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, on the Ph.D. track. Andres’s graduate research will focus on computational systems, and bioinformatics to understand cancer development and movement.