Faculty Research Expo

March 5, 2012

From an economic civil rights movement to day laborers, sustainable wineries, good companies, observers reactions to infidelity and political strategies of US-born Mexicans, compelling research from Sonoma State University faculty is on display at the 16th Annual annual Faculty Research Exposition from 4-5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 7 in the Commons.

This year's 77 participants are involved in 34 projects that provide a wide-ranging look at research and grant activity that is crucial to an active and productive SSU community. Student involvement in research activities are also a key element to any undergraduate experience.

The event is hosted annually by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) and Faculty Subcommittee on Sponsored Programs (FSSP).

Faculty and staff members throughout the campus are involved in vital, creative and significant projects, funded through CSU, state, federal and private sources. This annual event provides an opportunity for researchers to share their work with the rest of the campus community.

The event is supported by John and Katharyn Crabbe through their donations to the John and Katharyn Crabbe Faculty Development Fund. 

The complete line up of projects include:

Social Support and Academic Success in Higher Education
Christina Baker -- American Multicultural Studies

This research focuses on how social support from members of the college environment influences the academic performance of under-represented minority college students. Under-represented students who have earned acceptance into even the most selective colleges in the country face challenges to their academic success, and support from the college environment is particularly important to the success of many of these students. I examine the influence of support from co-ethnic members of the campus community, peers and faculty. Variation in results based on the students' race and gender are also examined.

Fleshing Out the Past: Dilmun Bioarchaeology Project
Alexis Boutin -- Anthropology

The Dilmun Bioarchaeology Project's goal is to study and publish the skeletal remains and artifacts from Peter Cornwall's 1940-41 expedition to Bahrain and eastern Saudi Arabia. This collection, which resides in the Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley, aided Cornwall in re-locating ancient Dilmun, which ran along the western side of the Arabian Gulf during the Bronze and Iron Ages. Together with a forensic artist, we have created two-dimensional and three-dimensional facial reconstructions of an adolescent male whose skull is particularly well preserved. This technology is a novel way to "flesh out" experiences of life and death in the past.

Collaborative Autism Training & Support Program (CATS)
Lorna Catford -- Sociology
Stephanie Millsom, Kaley Mounts

SInce it began in 2005, the Collaborative Autism Training & Support Program (CATS) has grown from a one-semester course where 20 students provided 1,000 hours of free direct interventions and support to 20 children on the autism spectrum, to an award-winning program with a 2-semester course -- this year 77students are providing almost 3,500 hours to 86 children and their families. Students from many majors participate and follow up with employment in a variety of areas. They also take on leadership roles in the program, which is supported by our Instructionally Related Activity funding.

Emergent Ethics in Qualitative Research
Kathy Charmaz -- Sociology

This project aims to discover the kinds of unanticipated ethical issues that arise in qualitative research; to identify situations that fit under research textbook ethical guidelines and those that do not; to learn about those conditions under which researchers defined ethical dilemmas, what problems these dilemmas caused in completing the research, and how they handled unexpected ethical dilemmas. Little empirical research has been conducted on what qualitative researchers experience while gaining IRB approval of their projects and of ethical issues they actually face while conducting the research. My project addresses both the approval process and the actual ethical issues.

The spatial pattern and dominant drivers of woody vegetation change in Latin America and Caribbean from 2001 to 2010.
Matthew Clark -- Geography and Global Studies

Change in woody vegetation (i.e., forests, shrublands) is a major component of global environmental change: it directly affects biodiversity, the global carbon budget, and ecosystem function. My remote sensing research has produced annual maps (2001-2010) of woody cover for each of the >16,000 municipalities in Latin America, with the goal to track recent loss and gains of woody vegetation. We used non-parametric regression to assess the relative importance of demographic and environmental variables in explaining trends in woody vegetation at the municipality scale. The best explanatory variables were environmental, although there were other global drivers of regional woody change not explicitly considered in our analysis, such as global demand for food.

NASA Education and Public Outreach at Sonoma State University
Lynn Cominsky -- Physics & Astronomy
Dr. Kevin McLin, Aurore Simonnet, Kamal Prasad, Kevin John, Laura Chase

SSU's NASA Education and Public Outreach group supports four high-energy astrophysics missions: the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope (launched in 2008), the Swift Gamma-ray Burst Explorer (launched in 2004), the XMM-Newton mission (launched in 1999) and the upcoming Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR, to be launched in 2012.) These missions detect x-ray or gamma-ray light, observing the most exotic and extreme objects in the Universe: blazing galaxies, intense stellar explosions and super-massive black holes. We develop K-12 curriculum, train thousands of teachers each year, and write a weekly webcomic, Epo's Chronicles. Our mission is to improve STEM education and increase scientific literacy by engaging and inspiring students of all ages with the wonders of the cosmos.

Jihad and the Holy City: Grassroots Responses to the War on Terror in Charleston, SC
Steve Estes -- History

With support from an RSCAP mini-grant in 2011, Steve Estes (History) and student assistant Bryan Schwartz, conducted a survey with Charleston clergy of various faiths to analyze grassroots responses to the 9/11 attacks and the War on Terror. Thirty-nine clergy participated in the survey, reflecting on sermons, prayer vigils, inter-faith services, and other religious responses to the War on Terror. Interviews and newspaper accounts supplied secular/social context for these religious responses.

The Economic Civil Rights Movement
Michael Ezra -- American Multicultural Studies

The Economic Civil Rights Movement, to be published by Routledge in 2013, is a collection of essays exploring the ways in which the quest for economic power dictated the agenda of the African American civil rights movement. Although traditional civil rights scholarship has mostly focused on the black fight for political equality, the battle for economic rights was never far from the movement's center. The essays in The Economic Civil Rights Movement cover a wide range of events that took place nationwide over a period of forty years.

Investigation of fluorescent molecules from Naematoloma fasciculare
Steven Farmer -- Chemistry,
Rose Geranio

Fluorescent molecules are interesting because they have a wide variety of applications in the field of biotechnology. Natural fluorescent molecules are important because they tend to be less toxic, biodegradable, and environmentally friendly. Because of this, my research group is interested in locating and isolating fluorescent molecules from natural sources. In particular, the mushroom Naematoloma Fasciculare contains molecules which are highly fluorescent. Our current project focused on isolating and characterizing the fluorescent molecules found in Naematoloma Fasciculare and to determine its ability to act as a fluorescent tag.

Spaciotemporal Patterns of Nesting Behavior in a Northern California Population of Western Pond Turtles
Nicholas Geist -- Biology
Wendy St. John, Kristine Ward, Nicole Christie, Brendan Phillips, Zannie Dallara

We monitored the nesting behavior of a population of gravid female western pond turtles (Emys marmorata) in a vernal lake in Lake County, CA, during June of 2008-2011. We recorded the onset and daily timing of terrestrial nesting forays, and location of nest sites. Preliminary analyses of the nesting activity suggest patterns of nest site fidelity in this population, with several females returning to nest in close proximity to previous nesting sites in consecutive years. Western pond turtles also show a strong preference for nesting in semi-exposed grassy areas in close proximity to the treelike.

Effects of Nest Temperature Variation on Viability and Sex Determination of Western Pond Turtles (E. marmorata)
Nicholas Geist -- Biology
Brendan Phillips, Nicole Christie, Wendy St. John, Kristine Ward, Zannie Dallara

Temperature sensors were placed in nest of the western pond turtle at a Lake County field site to examine how daily temperature fluctuation effects nest temperatures. Our data indicate that nest locations and egg position within nests affected mean temperature and temperature fluctuation experienced by each egg. Daily temperature fluctuation within most nests commonly exceeded 20 degrees C, and eggs positioned higher in the nest experienced significantly higher temperature fluctuation than those at the bottom. Notably, few studies have examined natural temperature variation and its effects on development in other turtle species.

Frog's Leap Winery in 2011: The Sustainability Agenda [Case study + video]
Armand Gilinsky -- Business Administration

From 2000-2010, John Williams, co-founder and winemaker of Frog's Leap Winery in Rutherford, California made investments in dry farming, organic and biodynamic agriculture, geothermal and solar power, year-round employment and benefits for migrant workers, and the industry's only LEED-certified tasting room. Wine production remained static over the decade, but cased goods inventory and debt load increased. To generate cash flow, Frog's Leap innovated a "wine-by-the glass" program using kegs and "Fellowship of the Frog" wine club. In May 2011, Williams considered options to grow "while remaining small," become more sustainable, and assure Frog's Leap's transition to the next generation.

The Good Company
Robert Girling -- Business Administration

In THE GOOD COMPANY, Robert Girling shares 17 inspiring case studies compiled with student research assistance of new as well as established companies and social enterprises from around the world that are making our planet better by meeting human needs of their employees, suppliers and customers. The companies meet the environmental challenge by developing sustainable technologies and production systems. THE GOOD COMPANY has good news: there are a growing number of companies--good companies-- that are healing the world by giving back to the community and introducing planet-saving innovations. And here's the bottom line, Good Companies are profitable.

The Paleoclimate Potential and Enigma of Laguna Minucua, Oaxaca, Mexico.
Michelle Goman -- Geography and Global Studies

Despite over 50 years of paleoclimatological research the climate history of much of Mexico remains poorly understood. We present preliminary data from Laguna Minucua, located within the Sierra Madre del Sur (~2500m a.s.l). The pond is small (~.25 ha) and shallow (<30 cm deep at time of coring) with no apparent inlets or outlets. We retrieved two sediment cores from the site. Surprisingly, the cores are highly laminated and possibly varved. We present a preliminary analysis of the laminae using a combination of high resolution synchrotron and scanning XRF, magnetic susceptibility data and micro-morphological characterization from thin sections.

"Teaching American History" Grant Program at SSU: 9 years and counting!
Michelle Jolly (History), Margie Purser (Anthropology), Steve Estes (History), Nancy Case-Rico (Curriculum Studies and Secondary Education)

The Teaching American History Grant program is a federally funded grant that provides support, professional development, and post-baccalaureate educational opportunities two K-12 teachers who teach American history. These team-taught, workshop-based programs are now in their tenth year at SSU. Held by the North Bay International Studies Project office on campus, the grants combine the expertise of faculty from the History, Anthropology, and Education departments. They have now served close to 500 teachers in school districts from Mendocino to the East Bay.

Alliance Between Sonoma County Department of Health Services and Sonoma State University Nursing Students to Design, Market and Evaluate an Infant Safe Sleep Campaign
Michelle Kelly - Nursing

The aim of this project was to lower the number of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) deaths in Sonoma County by using social marketing to decrease certain associated behaviors. Implementation of an evidenced-based social marketing intervention with safe sleep messages on plastic adhesive decals placed on the floor ("floor talkers") of stores was made possible through a Health Department-University partnership. The project involved developing and testing bilingual floor talkers with the target population, outreach to local businesses to enlist participation and evaluating the campaigns' effectiveness in increasing awareness of safe sleep practices and developing public health partners through the use of businesses in social marketing.

A Preparation of Mutant Anti-Bacterial Proteins for Structure:Function Analysis
Jennifer Lillig -- Chemistry
Pete Arnold, Casee Barnes, Brittany Anderson

The re-emergence of bacterial pathogens as a significant threat to public health has lead to an increased awareness of food safety. One of the most common food-born pathogens is Listeria monocytogenes, which can contaminate a variety of raw and processed foods including vegetables, meats, and dairy products. Listeria infection severity can range from fever and nausea to meningitis and fetal miscarriage. It has been found that lactic acid bacteria, common food-born bacteria that are non-pathogenic, produce small proteins that kill Listeria. This work focuses on the creation of mutant proteins that will allow for the methodical examination of a key molecular features known to be important for the protein's antibacterial activity. Understanding the role of this chemical feature in maintaining molecular structure, cell targeting, or target cell death can aid in the development of these molecules as both potent and safe drugs and food preservatives.

Day Laborers in the U.S. Informal Economy"
Daniel Melero Malpica -- Chicano & Latino Studies

With the generous support of the RSCAP Summer Fellowship 2010/11 I was able to continue my research on Latin American migrants and their labor force participation in the United States. This funding provided me with the resources necessary (to hire students to conduct, code, and transcribe interviews with day laborers) to be able to publish my article Marginalized Workers: The Experience of Day Laborers in the Informal Economy in the peer-review journal DiálogoDiálogo is published at DePaul University and has a solid reputation. My article is a part of a special edition to the journal that explores the changes, extent, causes, or effects of poverty and inequality in Latin America, and among Latinos in the United States and Canada.

Sonoma County History Timeline
Joe Marquez -- University Library

The Sonoma County History Timeline is a fascinating visual way to experience Sonoma County history. Built using MIT's Simile Exhibit software, the timeline incorporates geospatial mapping of historic places, notable people, and key events in Sonoma County. The timeline features resources stored in the SSU Library's Special Collections and Archives. The project was a combined effort of Library faculty and History graduate students. The Sonoma County History Timeline project was created with support from a RSCAP Mini-Grant.

"Shared Places, Contested Pasts": experiments in curricular integration with a team-taught course
Melinda Milligan (Sociology), Michelle Jolly (History), Laura Watt (ENSP), Margie Purser (Anthropology)

"Shared Places, Contested Pasts" is an interdisciplinary, team-taught course explores the ways in which people use places to tell stories about the past. This fundamental human process has taken on new and potent significance in a world grappling with schisms over the reality of global warming and climate change, deteriorating natural and built environments, increasingly globalized and diasporic human populations, and deeply contested definitions of and rights to heritage and identity. We plan to use the materials developed in this experimental course to design additional program connections among our four departments, and to explore the possibility of a joint research project in community representations of and contests over the past.

Political orientation and acculturation strategies in US-born Mexican-Americans
Laura Naumann - Psychology

We examined the interaction between Mexican and American cultural identification and political orientation on preferred acculturation strategies and experience of acculturative stress. US-born Mexican-Americans (n = 303) completed measures of acculturation strategies and stress, rated their strength of Mexican and American identities, and provided their political orientation. Conservatives (and those with strong American and weak Mexican identities) pursued assimilationist strategies (minimizing cultural identity while participating in mainstream culture), while liberals (and those with strong Mexican identities) pursued integrationist strategies (maintaining cultural identity while participating in mainstream culture). Interestingly, both types of acculturation strategies predicted lower acculturative stress.

Tafoni, Rillenkarren, Exfoliation and Granular Disintegration on the Basaltic Rocks of the Galapagos Islands
Stephen Norwick - Environmental Studies and Planning

Tafoni and rillenkarren have been discovered on the basaltic rocks of the Galapagos Islands in the rocky tidal zones, on the boulders rolling across beach faces, in the desert coasts where there is salt spray, and in the rain forests of the volcanic summits. This is the sixth report of tafoni on basalt on earth, and the first report of rillenkarren on basalt. In the spray zone, the older the surface, the larger the tafoni. In the tidal zone and on the mountain tops, tafoni growth seems to be cyclic, with new surfaces appearing and being removed, and new tafoni developing all the time.

Dialogic action in climate change discussions: An international study of high school students in China, New Zealand, Norway and the United States
Jessica Parker - Curriculum Studies & Secondary Education

Students in secondary science classrooms traditionally experience science as a decontextualized collection of facts rather than as a collaborative process of improving understandings of the natural world. The Climate Exchange for Language and Learning (CELL) program addresses this problem as high school students from Norway, China, New Zealand, and the United States (N=141) collectively discussed issues related to climate change. This mixed-methods investigation of CELL concerns the asynchronous online discussion forums of the project. Findings from discourse analyses reveal the dialogic nature of students' socio-political and conceptual discussions and demonstrate the need for science teaching to view dialogue as an essential aspect of learning.

Measurements and Predictions of Local Air Pollution
Mark Perri -- Chemistry
Chris Hoff, Ross Mohs

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are emitted into the atmosphere where they react to form harmful pollutants, such as ozone and particulate matter (PM). Our goal is to measure the amount of these pollutants over Rohnert Park and to determine the best way to decrease them by using a combination of atmospheric measurements and computer modeling. Through the use of RSCAP money an undergraduate student has measured ozone and PM this summer and is ironing out the details to measure local VOCs. The students' measurements and future plans will be presented.

Doing Archaeology in the East Bay
Adrian Praetzellis -- Anthropology

SSU's Anthropological Studies Center partnered with East Bay Regional Park District to monitor creek bank stabilization work close to a known prehistoric archaeological site. Led by MA candidate (now graduate) Annamarie Leon Guerrero, SSU students and staff recovered quantities of midden containing dietary remains and stone artifacts. The work came about, in part, because of Annamarie's 2011 MA thesis: a cultural resources management plan for the District. Annamarie received help with her thesis fieldwork from several SSU grad students and MA program graduates. The Principal Investigator was Adrian Praetzellis (Anthropology Department).

Mapping Electronic Spin Density Waves
Jeremy Qualls -- Physics & Astronomy

Utilizing a 17 Tesla magnet system, located on the third floor of Darwin, we were able to explore numerous electronic and magnetic states. Due to sample quality, not yet observed in the community, a novel organic based material (TMTSF)2PF6 has revealed exciting results. Crystals of the material was synthesized by Dr. Qualls and undergraduate student Austin Powell. Measurements then carried out at SSU and at collaborating facilities revealed features that point to complex and competing electronic states of spin density waves. Understanding these states provides clues to understand other observed superconducting and metal insulator transitions.

Modeling the Power Consumption of Computer Systems with Graphics Processing Units
Suzanne Rivoire -- Computer Science
Stephanie Schmidt, Vincent Morrow, Ben Morrison, and Forrest Lipske 

To help optimize computer systems' energy efficiency, researchers have developed models relating systems' instantaneous power consumption to resource utilization metrics available in software. Existing power models assume the major consumers of dynamic power are the central processing unit (CPU), memory and disk. The increased use of graphics processing units (GPUs) for general-purpose computing compromises this assumption. This research is the first to quantify: the inaccuracy of traditional high-level system power models for GPU workloads; the benefits of including GPU metrics in a full-system power model when applied to both GPU and non-GPU workloads; and models' sensitivity to different GPU metrics.

Enhancement of optical properties of zinc oxide using magnesium doping
Hongtao Shi -- Physics & Astronomy
Cristhyan Alfaro, Kalie Barrera, Timothy Hessong

Optical properties of zinc oxide (ZnO), prepared on aluminum foils using an electrochemical method, were measured between 20 K and 200 K, which showed intense ultraviolet (UV) emissions near the band edge of ZnO along with defect-induced broad bands. When the source solution was slightly doped with magnesium (Mg), the broad band was significantly reduced. Energy dispersive x-ray and Auger electron spectroscopies revealed no Mg contents in the films. Based on the chemical reactivity of Mg, we proposed a growth mechanism, which was supported by samples prepared after adding calcium or copper to the solution.

Modern and ancient rivers of the Uinta Mountains
Michael E. Smith -- Geology

Thanks to the summer fellowship funding provided by RSCAP, I conducted field work in SW Wyoming and NE Utah during July 2011 collecting samples of Eocence alluvial strata and modern river deposits. The ancient deposits will be compared petrographically with sediments currently being delivered from Uinta Mountains watersheds to determine the rate different rock types break down relative to one another in streams. The samples are currently being used to study the effects of differential diminution of different rock types in fluvial systems, and are the basis of a student project led by SSU geology major Ryan Wanamaker.

Observers' Reactions To Infidelity: Victims Who Forgive Damage Ingroup's Reputation
Heather Smith -- Psychology
Marissa Georges, Desiree Ryan, Alix Snyder, Brittany Topal, Troy Pasion-Caiani, Rhonda Balzarini, Chris Goode

When a fellow ingroup member forgives an offender, their behavior has implications for the larger group. Observers might view an ingroup victim's forgiveness of an outgroup member negatively because their behavior violates 1) shared group values or 2) makes the group appear weak to outsiders. Undergraduates read short vignettes about a student body president who learns via a Facebook web posting that his or her partner has been unfaithful and either forgives, seeks revenge or leaves the partner. Results indicate that when a victim forgives an (outgroup) offender, it may inadvertently harm the victim's relationship with other ingroup members.

Speed Diversity Dialogue: When Student-Faculty Research Collaboration Works, We All Benefit!
Elisa Velasquez-Andrade -- Psychology
Daniel Mello, Ana Quiroz, Alma Valverde, Jacob Tumas, Angelina Gutierrez, Ricardo Sandoval, Kayleigh Watters

This poster presents the outcomes and reflections of undergraduate research assistants and a psychology professor who have developed, implemented, and assessed a multicultural awareness training named Speed Diversity Dialogue. Over 800 students have participated in this training. Our team has secured funding from four research grants, has one publication and nine professional presentations (posters/papers/workshops). In 2012, we have submitted four abstracts and will present a paper symposium at the American Psychological Association Conference. Clearly, this Action Research approach has both contributed significantly to SSU on the aspect of diversity and provided a robust setting for students to develop their research skills.

Investigation of Chromate Reductase from a Novel Pseudomonas veronii: Possible use in Bioremediation of Chromium(VI)
Carmen Works -- Chemistry
Saralynn Thompson, Sara Perrin

Most transition metals are important for proper biological function, but many are also toxic. The biochemistry of chromium is interesting in that one form is important for proper glucose metabolism (Cr3+), while another is a know carcinogen (Cr6+). The latter is a dangerous environmental pollutant due to its extreme water solubility and its production by several industrial processes. Research in our lab has focused on finding and characterizing a bacteria that had enzymatic capability for the conversion of chromium(VI) to chromium(III) (enzymatic reduction). Our goal is to understand the enzymatic reduction, and to use our understanding for the bioremediation of chromium and other toxic transition metals that are public health threats. The plan to accomplish this goal is to purify the enzyme and characterize the enzyme. The significance of understanding the details of enzymatic reduction will help in the development of safe and greener methods to clean our environment of harmful transitions metals.

Photochemical studies of iron-iron hydrogenase model compounds in various solvents
Carmen Works -- Chemistry
Heidi van de Wouw, Peter Damon

Flash and continuous photolysis studies of (m-pdt)[Fe(CO)3]2 under excess CO were conducted in both coordinating and non-coordinating solvents. The thermal back-reaction of CO with the photo-product showed CO dependent second order kinetics with kCO values of 1.0 x 108, 3.4 x 106, 1.2 x 106 and 0.90 M-1 s-1 in hexanes, benzene, toluene, and THF, respectively. These data indicate a solvent coordinated intermediate as one photoproduct, but other long-lived species were also apparent. Preliminary quantum yield determination for (m-pdt)[Fe(CO)3]2 was found to be 0.07 at room temperature in acetonitrile after 365 nm photolysis. Current efforts are focused on refining quantum yields, modifying chemical reactivity, and determining the activation parameters.

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