From digital art installations to wildfire tornadoes to eco-friendly chemical reactions, San Jose State University has honored an array of research, scholarship, and creative endeavors the April 14.
The annual Research Celebration event, organized by the Research and Innovation Department at the SJSU Diaz Compean Student Union Ballroom, drew over 200 attendees. It was the first in-person celebration since the start of the pandemic, and the gathering allowed students and faculty to share their ongoing projects with each other through conversations, poster presentations and of official recognition.
“Thanks to the excellent research work of our faculty and students, we are able to help solve today’s problems and mitigate tomorrow’s challenges alongside our industry and community partners,” said said Mohamed Abousalem, vice president of research and innovation, welcoming the participants.
“This celebration is our way of demonstrating our unique ability as a public Silicon Valley university to conduct critical research on important topics and to develop creative research in areas that touch our lives.”
Rhonda Holberton, Assistant Professor of Digital Media Art; and Madalyn Radlauer, Assistant Professor of Chemistry; were both presented with the SJSU Research Foundation 2021 Early Career Investigator Award (ECIA) – one of the most prestigious honors bestowed by the university. The ECIA recognizes tenure-track faculty members who have excelled in research, scholarship, and creative activity early in their careers.
Radlauer studies ways to make certain chemical reactions more environmentally friendly. She studies chemical reactions driven by catalysts, in which each molecule of catalyst can do the reaction hundreds or thousands of times.
“It’s about being selective and energy efficient in a chemical reaction,” Radlauer explained in a video highlighting his work, which was shown at the event. “Every time you’re energy efficient, it’s greener, more eco-friendly, and every time you’re selective, it means you don’t have to purify things you don’t want.
“The research process is really slow,” Radlauer said. “But the research learning process can be very fast. I involve students in the work so they can learn to be scientists and take the next step.
Holberton’s work, which has been exhibited around the world including Australia, Switzerland and the United States, “focuses on digital tools and digital technologies and how they materially impact our physical experience. “, she shared in a video about her research. .
In its courses, students learn artistic and digital skills and are often able to gain real-world experience by partnering with outside institutions to create exhibitions and contribute to other projects.
“I like to think that the research and work I do with my students has an impact outside of our department. [Receiving the ECIA] truly recognizes the work of the student and the impact they have in their community.
SJSU students participated in two research-based competitions – the 2022 SJSU Grad Slam, held earlier today, and the 2022 SJSU Student Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (RSCA) competition. winners were announced at the event.
In a Grad Slam competition, graduate students condense the theses of their research projects into engaging three-minute presentations, which must be understandable to a lay audience. Prizes are awarded based on the success of their presentations.
Eight RSCA Competition finalists will then compete in the 36th Annual CSU Student Research Competition, which will be held April 29-30 and will be hosted by San Francisco State University. These students and their research include:
- Roberto Campbell, ’19 BS, ’22 MS Computer Engineering: “Reinforcement learning for the defense of software-defined networks using ADR and self-play.”
- Dani Heinonen, ’21 Psychology: “An Assessment of Student Perceptions of Campus Climate at San Jose State University.”
- Kristina Smith, ’21 Child and Adolescent Psychology and Development: “Examining Social Media as a Context for Positive Youth Development During COVID.”
- Justise Wattree, ‘23 humanities: “The War on Two Fronts: Mutual Aid and Black Health Activism During the Spanish Flu, HIV/AIDS and COVID-19.”
- Amarachi Aladi, ’25 economy; Dang Minh Nhu Nguyen, ’22 Applied Mathematics; Evelyn Tran, ’25 Not stated; Quyen Nhi Tran, ’22 Applied Mathematics: “Retrospective review of the literature on racial disparities before COVID and during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In addition to research, creativity in the arts was also celebrated. The students performed a scene featuring the “The Grouch: a modern version of the Misanthrope”, which is presented by the College of Humanities and the Arts and will be presented at the Hammer Theater from April 22-30.
Stephen Perez, acting president of the university, applauded the students for their research, innovation, scholarship and creativity.
The ability to continue these efforts “supports the success of our students, and that’s really the end result,” he said. “[Research, scholarship, and creative activity] helps students realize the applicability of what they learn in their classroom, provides life-changing experiences, and prepares students to get started immediately after graduation.