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Saving California’s Coast…One Project at a Time

January 28, 2012

Category: A Closer Look

Buzz about marine issues, coastal activities and water experiments filled the CSU Chancellor’s Office on Jan. 24 as CSU students and their faculty mentors presented a multitude of projects detailing potential solutions to California’s complex water and coastal zone challenges at the second annual COAST Faculty-Student Poster Reception featuring WRPI.

Both the CSU Council on Ocean Affairs, Science and Technology (COAST) and the Water Resources and Policy Initiatives (WRPI) provide a platform where students pursuing a career in science can carry out extensive research, conduct field experiments and develop solutions to problems plaguing the environment. With resources and assistance from faculty, local scientists and science-based organizations, student researchers across all 23 CSU campuses are able to gain valuable hands-on experience in key scientific processes while expanding on scientific matters affecting California.

As a prime example, CSU Bakersfield student Yvette Sanchez—along with four other researchers from the university —targeted an invasive marine bryozoan species and were able to collect samples, use microbiological tools in the lab to identify DNA sequences and collaborate with other labs to potentially produce an antibiotic that can be used in the healthcare industry.

“I love every aspect of microbiology,” said CSU Bakersfield student Yvette Sanchez. “[Our team] researched a topic that we could do so much with and were able to see what types of bacteria have antibiotic compounds.”

In many instances, the student research and poster thesis projects can result in receiving grants to conduct additional research, being published in scientific journals, fellowships and jobs.

“This event serves many purposes,” said CSU Monterey Bay President Dianne Harrison. “As a result of their research posters, students and faculty here have already been approached by colleagues from other CSU campuses wanting future collaborations.”

With 30 projects ranging from habitat restoration and sustainable seafood to ballast water testing and wastewater polishing, research students gained hands-on experience carrying out scientific research, conducting pilot studies to test theories and building devices to measure changes in the environment.

The CSU offers up-and-coming scientists an opportunity to present their findings to the science and CSU community, and provides channels where students can enhance their skills and knowledge of scientific methods one project at a time.


(left to right) Yvette Sanchez and Kushwinder Gill; CSU Bakersfield


Carolyn J. Ewers; Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo


Dr. Matthew R. Cover; CSU Stanislaus


Dr. Christine Whitcraft; Cal State Long Beach

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