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Science & the CSU

A Closer Look

Cal Poly, Sacramento State in National Energy Competition

Driver Troy Anderson and passenger Minh Tran of California State University, Sacramento wave as they maneuver their Electric Smart car in front of their home during the commuting contest at the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon at the Orange County Great Park, Irvine, California  Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015. (Credit: Thomas Kelsey/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon)

Teams of students and faculty from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Sacramento State designed and built two of the world’s most innovative and efficient solar powered homes.

The two teams were a part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s biennial Solar Decathlon in Irvine October 8-18. For the competition, they had to design and build a house that was powered only by solar energy.

Sacramento State and Cal Poly competed against only 12 other universities from across the country in the highly-selective competition.

The Department of Energy holds the event to accelerate the adoption of energy-efficient designs and products by educating students and the public about the benefits. The competition also provides participating students with unique training that prepares them for the clean energy workforce.

For the CSU students, the real-world experience builds on the hands-on learning they are already receiving in engineering, design, architecture and communications. As they spend months fundraising, planning, designing, analyzing, and finally building and improving their homes, teams rely on expertise from many disciplines.

The homes are judged in 10 different areas, based on affordability, design and efficiency. This year, Cal Poly ranked third and Sacramento State was tenth overall.

This was Sacramento State’s first year in the Solar Decathlon. Cal Poly also finished third the only other time it competed in the event in 2005.

CSU Takes Part in Climate Change Forum


coast small

The CSU Council on Ocean Affairs, Science and Technology (COAST) was part of a panel on climate change hosted by U.S. Congressman Alan Lowenthal in Long Beach September 2.

COAST Director Krista Kamer, PhD, informed Lowenthal and local leaders about what the program is doing to tackle climate change statewide and how lawmakers can use the CSU’s network of expertise in decision and policy making related to the issue.

Panelists addressed climate change topics including identifying areas of the community that are most vulnerable to its effects and current projects and initiatives underway that are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing resiliency. They also identified areas in which Lowenthal could make a difference in Congress.

Dr. Kamer gave an overview of COAST, which integrates CSU’s systemwide resources to advance knowledge of natural coastal and marine resources and the processes that affect them. She also went over how COAST is addressing climate change and preserving Southern California’s ecosystems.

Dr. Kamer was joined by experts from local water districts, environmental agencies and researchers from universities including the University of Southern California and University of California, Los Angeles.

Sea slugs: A cancer treatment?



Two CSU professors are leading innovative sea slug research to help cure one of the world’s most deadly diseases: cancer. Cal State L.A. Biological Sciences Professor Patrick Krug, PhD, and Cal Poly Pomona Biological Sciences Associate Professor Ángel A. Valdés, PhD, are among the handful of scientists studying seas slugs to uncover medical mysteries and develop break-through solutions to complex health issues. Read more.

“Living Labs” Link Sustainability, Student Success



CSU campuses are essentially small cities that provide the perfect “living lab” for future engineers, water resource professionals, urban planners and environmentalists. When academic programs collaborate with campus facilities, faculty and students engage in hands-on research that makes campuses more sustainable—and students go into the workforce prepared to solve real-world problems. Read more.

Stewards of the Oceans


Ashley Quackenbush presenting at Western Society of Naturalists conference about her “Get Into Your Sanctuary Day” campaign.

For the past 40 years, U.S. national marine sanctuaries have worked to provide a secure habitat for species close to extinction and protect historically significant shipwrecks and artifacts —and now California State University (CSU) students are helping to guard these underwater treasures.

As part of CSU’s role in advancing sustainable environmental science, the CSU Council on Ocean Affairs, Science and Technology (COAST) has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) to place students in unique internships. more…

Cal State L.A., San Jose State Receive $9.6M from NASA



Cal State L.A. and San Jose State received $9.6 million to conduct NASA-related research and education to help train a new generation of scientists and engineers. more…

Student Researchers Bring Big Ideas


15-05-02-CSUSB-- Jessica Pope Mayers, from California State University Los Angeles, presents her research projected titled "A Controlled Field Study of Showups: Examining the Effect of Suggestion and Suspect Similarity at the 29th Annual CSU Student Research Competition at California State University, San Bernardino on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Photo by Corinne McCurdy/CSUSB

CSU students are addressing today’s top issues including the impact of minimum wage increases, California’s water crisis, and the public perception of police officers. They are also developing solutions that can make a difference in our lives including creating power from carbon dioxide and making breakthroughs that could lead to more effective treatments for cancer.

These topics were among nearly 200 research projects presented at the CSU’s 29th annual Student Research Competition at CSU San Bernardino May 1-2. The event hosted the best and brightest students from throughout the CSU–in order to participate, students had to be selected by their campus or take top honors in their own campus research competition.

Over the two-day event, 260 students from 22 CSUs presented 200 research projects in 19 sessions, which were broken down by student level and a number of research categories including humanities and social sciences, agriculture, chemistry, biology and health sciences. more…

Seven Ways to Save Water in the California Drought


The CSU’s Water Resources and Policy Initiatives (WRPI) leverages the expertise of about 250 researchers from throughout the CSU to help solve the state’s complex water issues. Due in part to this system-wide initiative, the CSU is now recognized as a critical resource working to solve the state’s water challenges.

One of WRPI’s goals is to provide faculty expertise to support California’s need for sustainable water resources.

CSU experts are also educating Californians about the importance of sustainable water consumption in the home. Daily water use plays a major role in the state’s supply.

WRPI water expert and Sacramento State Professor Christine Flowers-Ewing insists that Californians need to do our part to save water, and it can start in the home. Here are seven tips that Flowers-Ewing says anyone can do to help reduce water use: more…

CSUN Satellite to Explore the Stellar Frontier


In a small, multipurpose electrical engineering lab located at the heart of campus, a team of 27 California State University, Northridge students, four professors and a Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) scientist eagerly gathered around a table covered with circuit boards. They were witnessing a historic first rehearsal between the custom-made CSUNSat1 cube satellite and a JPL energy storage system that will help explore deep space in extremely cold temperatures.

CSU’s Partnership with Chevron Grants Local Junior High Students Access to Fab Lab


Hands-on learning at the Fab Lab at CSUB

California State University Bakersfield provides Fruitvale Junior High School students access to the campus Fab Lab. The opportunity has enabled the junior high school to offer Project Lead the Way Class, the nation’s leading provider of STEM programs, with students beginning projects in the classroom and completing their design work in the Fab Lab.

“A Fab Lab is the place where students and entrepreneurs come to imagine, to design and to make almost anything that they want” said Sherry Lassiter, director of Fab Foundation.

With Fab Lab consisting of the same core machines and processes in all of its locations, the CSU is joining a global network of over 400 Fab Labs in more than 50 countries. more…

SF State study finds deadly frog fungus dates back to 1880s


An anaxyrus americanaus frog

A deadly fungus responsible for the extinction of more than 200 amphibian species worldwide has coexisted harmlessly with animals in Illinois and Korea for more than a century, a pair of studies have found.


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