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 2017 Publication

CSU-LSAMP PROUD Scholars 2016 Publication

CSU-LSAMP PROUD Scholars 2015 Publication

CSU-LSAMP PROUD Scholars 2014 Publication

 

 

2017 CSU-LSAMP Fresno State PROUD Scholars

Christian Montiel

 

Christian Montiel 

California State University, Fresno (CSU,Fresno)lsamp student in lab

B.S. 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.

Shoghig Haverj Stanboulian

 

Shoghig Haverj Stanboulian

California State University, Fresno (CSU,Fresno) lsamp

B.S. 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.

Kevin Muthima

 

Kevin Muthima 

California State University, Fresno (CSU,Fresno) lsamp

B.S. 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.

Omoshola Aleru

 

lsamp

Omoshola Aleru 

California State University, Fresno (CSU,Fresno) 

B.S. 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

 

2016 CSU-LSAMP Fresno State PROUD Scholars

Cristian Sarabia

christian sarabia

Cristian Sarabia
California State University, Fresno
(CSU,Fresno)
B.S. Biochemistry

Cristian is pursuing a B.S. in Biochemistry and two minors, Physics and Mathematics, at Fresno State. Cristian has overcome numerous obstacles as a first generation Hispanic college student who spent his early childhood in Mexico and later moved to Los Angeles, CA. After joining LSAMP, he began conducting research in organic medicinal chemistry under the supervision of Dr. Qiao-Hong Chen. His research involves prostate cancer, analyzing the molecular structure of curcumin, the main component of turmeric, a type of ginger. His work includes synthesizing curcumin analogs, which have higher potency and bioavailability than curcumin, by testing their antiproliferative activity in different prostate cancer cell lines. Cristian has presented his research at the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) Symposium and the Central California Research Symposium. In addition to his research, Cristian was elected to serve as the Senator for the College of Science Mathematics representing students’ needs in the college through the student government Associated Students Incorporated (ASI). He meets with campus faculty, administration, and student organizations on a weekly basis. He has also held leadership roles in various student organizations including the Fresno State Premedical Club, SACNAS chapter, Chemistry Club, and AMSA. Furthermore, Cristian serves as a CSU-LSAMP Peer Mentor, Academic Excellence Workshop Facilitator and chemistry tutor. He has served on numerous CSU-LSAMP student panels encouraging entering students to participate in research and campus involvement. After graduating, Christian’s goal is to pursue a M.D/Ph.D., ultimately serving the needs of the disadvantaged as a provider and researcher.

Monet Gomes

monet gomes

Monet Gomes
California State University, Fresno
(CSU,Fresno)
B.S. Biology

Monet is pursuing a degree in Biology at Fresno State. She has always had a strong love for animals, which inspired her to pursue a career as a wildlife biologist. Monet has maintained an impressive overall GPA of 3.89, all while conducting research and working on and off campus. Monet has assisted with various wildlife biology projects through the California Department of Fish and Wildlife including interning for the Central California Regional Manager, Dr. Jeff Single, and assisting with a Kangaroo rat population survey. She has participated in electrofishing population surveys and trout fry release through the Kings River Conservancy. During her sophomore year, Monet began working under the mentorship of Dr. Steve Blumenshine and his aquatic ecology research lab, which works with the San Joaquin River Restoration Program, to restore the health of the river. She has conducted research on the practice of using stable isotope signatures as tracers for different regions of the San Joaquin River, with the support of CSU-LSAMP Summer and Academic Year Research Programs. She has presented this research at the Central California Research Symposium. Monet has also been involved with the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, working as an Interpretive Guide and Educator. Monet interned in South Africa during summer 2016, with Indlovu West Conservation Research, gaining experience managing wildlife on a private reserve, conducting wildlife population research, and learning about predator-prey dynamics on the African Savanna. Monet plans to pursue a graduate degree in wildlife biology to conduct research in the field of wildlife conservation.

 

 

Natsinet Ghebrendrias

natsinet

Natsinet Ghebrendrias
California State University, Fresno
(CSU,Fresno)
B.S. Biology

Natsinet is pursuing a B.S. in Biology at Fresno State and has a passion for the field of public health and a deep interest in infectious diseases. Under the mentorship of Biology professor Dr. Mamta Rawat, Natsinet has been conducting research on Mycobacterium smegmatis transposon mutants which are generated through transposon mutagenesis to investigate gene and protein function and cellular processes. Mycobacterium smegmatis is a non-pathogenic model organism for the study of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, a bacterium that causes tuberculosis, which allows for these insertional mutants to be used to identify how resistance to anti tuberculosis drugs occurs. Natsinet has been awarded multiple undergraduate research grants and facultysponsored student research awards and her research has been presented at multiple conferences, such as the 2015 CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) Symposium. Natsinet also participated in the LSU iREU 2016 France/Belgium 7-month research experience in Toulouse, France where she performed immunology research at the Institute of Pharmacology and Structural Biology (IPBS) under the guidance of Dr. Geanncarlo Lugo-Villarino in the lab of Dr. Olivier Neyrolles. Her research focus dealt with mycobacterial interactions with host cells and her goal was to identify microbiota-derived metabolites that modulate the macrophage response to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In addition to research, Natsinet has been an active member in CSU-LSAMP and has an officer leadership role in the Fresno State SACNAS chapter. Natsinet aspires to use the knowledge and experience she has gained to obtain her Ph.D. degree in the area of Global Health and work internationally.

2015 CSU-LSAMP Fresno State PROUD Scholars

Atahualpa Contreras

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.

 

 

Geil Merana

2geil

Geil 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

 

 

Alexandra Saxberg

3alex

Alexandra 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.

 

Leonardo Velazco-Cruz  

4leo

Leonardo 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.