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College of Science and Mathematics

It's all about our students

COSAM to Host Annual Student Research Conference May 18 & 19


Image of two male students discussing contents of research poster


The College of Science and Mathematics will host its Annual Student Research Conference on May 18 and 19.

A record number of presenters, featuring 121 posters and 24 talks, will highlight this year's conference. The student will presenting on innovative research projects ranging from the collapse of eelgrass in Morro Bay to the dangers topical sunscreens pose to the purple sea urchin. 

Schedule of Events

Thursday, May 18

Poster Reception 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Fisher Science Building 33, Room 285 and hallways and lobby

Friday, May 19

Oral Presentation Session 1, Fisher 285

Oral presentations schedule for session 1
Time Speaker and Topic

8:45 a.m.

John Stepanek (advisor Emily Taylor, Biological Sciences): Corticosterone-induced color change in Southern Pacific Rattlesnakes *First prize, Biological and Agricultural Sciences, CSU Student Research Competition April 2017.


Alyssa Petrelli (advisors Jenn Yost Clinton Francis, Ryan Walter and Jennifer O'Leary, Biological Sciences): Morro Bay avian community shift associated with eelgrass collapse.

9:15 a.m.

Madelyn Roycroft (advisor Ben Ruttenberg, Biological Sciences): Investigating the impact of fishing on parrotfish feeding behavior in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

9:30 a.m.

My-Lan Le (advisor Gita Kolluru, Biological Sciences): Foraging, aggression and competition in black-handed spider monkeys Ateles geoffroyi.

9:45 a.m.

Maddi, Fleming, Chris O'Day (advisor Pete Schwartz, Physics): Designing and collaboratively implementing tomorrow's cook stoves in Africa

Oral Presentation Session 2, Fisher 289

Oral presentation schedule for session 2
Time Speaker and Topic

Patrick Steffanic (advisor Jennifer Klay, Physics): Electron-Hadron correlation in 8 Tev pp collisions with the ALICE detector at the LHC.

9:15 a.m.

Caroline Paciaroni (advisor Stephanie Wissel, Physics): Calibrated radio bursts: measuring cosmic ray shower and neutrino radiation in the lab.

9:30 a.m.

Marcus Richmond (advisor John Jasbinsek, Physics): Mapping and modeling the subsurface interface of Diligencia Basin utilizing the H/V Method.

9:45 a.m.

Alex Kemnitz (advisor Jennifer Klay, Physics): Investigation of neutron induced ternary fission.

Poster Session 1, 10-11 a.m., Fisher Science hallways and lobby

Oral presentation schedule for session 3, 11:30 a.m. -1 p.m., Room 285

Time Speaker and Topic

11:30 a.m.

Forest Richmond (advisor Katharine Watts, Chemistry): Characterization of soil microbial communities as influenced by sustainable vineyard practices.

11:45 a.m.

Daniel Haro (advisor Heather Liwanag, Biological Sciences): When change is good: comparing cold acclimation rates between introduced, urban populations of the Italian Wall Lizard Podarcis siculus from New York and California.


Emma Weitzner (advisor Heather Liwanag, Biological Sciences): From ice to ocean: changes in the thermal function of harp seal fur with ontogeny.

12:15 p.m.

Anna Parker (advisor Ed Himelblau, Biological Sciences): Insertional mutagenesis of a senescence-associated gene in Arabidopsis results in decreased K+ uptake in leaves.

12:30 p.m.

Rachel Cuizon (advisor Nikki Adams, Biological Sciences): Commercial topical sunscreens are detrimental to development of the purple sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus.

12:45 p.m.

Wren Thompson (advisor Clinton Francis, Biological Sciences): The broken wing display: evolution of deception in class Aves.

Poster Session 2, 12:30-2 p.m., Fisher Science hallways and lobby

Oral presentation schedule for session 4, 2:30 p.m. -3:30p.m., Room 285

Time Speaker and Topic
2:30 p.m.

Noah Miller (advisor Jennifer Klay, Physics): The Fast Interaction Trigger (FIT) upgrade to the ALICE experiment at the CERN LHC.

2:45 p.m.

Melissa Voisinet (advisor Lars Tomanek, Biological Sciences): Proteomic response of elephant seal pup, Mirounga angustirostris, to prolonged fasting.

3 p.m.

Karina Reynolds (advisor Shanju Zhang, Chemistry): Aligned spherulites of conjugated polymers induced by carbon nanotubes.

3:15 p.m.

Donald Hersam (advisor Stephanie Wissel, Physics): Modeling of radiation produced by the highest-energy neutrinos.

Oral presentation schedule for session 5, 2:30 p.m. -3:45 p.m., Room 289

Time Speaker and Topic

2:30 p.m.

Marilla Lippert (advisor Nikki Adams, Biological Sciences): The comparative effects of chemical and physical sunscreens on Strongylocentrotus purpuratus fertilization.

2:45 p.m.

Maurice Goodman (advisor Ben Ruttenberg, Biological Sciences): The relationship between geographic range extent and adult traits in coastal temperate fishes.

3 p.m.

Philip Kahan (advisor Pat Fidiopiastis, Biological Sciences): Loss of CcsA-like protein decreases luminescence in Vibrio fischeri.

3:15 p.m.

Stacy Habroun (advisor Christy Strand, Biological Sciences): Effects of food consumption on cell proliferation in the brain of Python regius.

3:30 p.m.

Chris Pann (advisor Pat Fidiopiastis, Biological Sciences): The role of the primary nuclease gene in Vibrio fischeri.

For a complete list of poster presentations, go to or contact Elena Keeling at for additional information. 

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