Passing the Torch of Scientific Knowledge through Mentorship

Story courtesy of the CSU Chancellor's Office

CSU’s Council on Ocean Affairs, Science & Technology (COAST) and CSU Monterey Bay’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center (UROC) recently launched an undergraduate student summer research program that pairs CSUMB students with COAST faculty at campuses across the CSU. Undergraduates studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics are working with professors at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, CSU East Bay, San Diego State and San Francisco State.

During their 10-week, paid internships, students are researching topics such as the influence of temperatures on sea turtles, the sleeping patterns of sea slugs, development of non-toxic coating for boats and how organisms have adapted to changes in the environment.

This pilot program, which is leveraging UROC’s Department of Education HSI STEM and Articulation grant and COAST’s financial contributions, allows students to engage in research outside of the Monterey Bay area, with housing and supplies for research covered. Students were able to travel to their host CSU campus and explore the different regions by participating in hands-on research opportunities. Additionally, undergraduate interns are working with – and learning from – graduate students in the host labs alongside the COAST faculty members.

“With COAST as a partner, students have been able to relocate for the summer to more distant locations,” said COAST Director Dr. Krista Kamer. “In fact, the student working with Dr. Jim Murray from CSU East Bay travelled to Washington this summer to work at the world-renowned Friday Harbor Labs.”

To give each student a well-rounded experience, pairings were carefully chosen based on the students’ interest and future goals, and faculty’s experience and expertise. Undergraduate students, faculty mentors and research topics are as follows, respectively:

• Mark Callaghan, senior; Dr. James Murray, CSU East Bay; Say, can you see a sea slug sleep if a sea slug could show sleep?

• April Makukhov, sophomore; Dr. Rebecca Lewison, San Diego State University; Hot Tub Time Machine: Influence of Temperature on Habitat Use of East Pacific Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas) in San Diego Bay, San Diego, CA

• Lauren Tobosa, junior; Dr. Dean Wendt, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; Fishing and Sticking: The Impact of MPAs on nearshore rockfish and the development of environmentally benign marine coatings

• Carley Turner, senior; Dr. Jonathon Stillman, San Francisco State University; The expression of temperature responsive genes across fine-scale habitat variation in the porcelain crab, Petrolisthes cinctipes

Source: Science and the CSU