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Saturday, August 13, 2022

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SDSU Students Present at CSU Research Competition

Two Aztecs placed tops in their categories.
By Jill Esterbrooks

San Diego State University sent 11 outstanding scholars representing a variety of academic disciplines to the 30th annual California State University Student Research Competition held at CSU Bakersfield in late April.

This system-wide competition showcases excellent research being conducted by undergraduate and graduate students in the full range of academic programs offered by CSU, with topics as varied as evolutionary biology and cutting-edge laser technology to women in finance.  Participants made oral presentations before juries of professional experts from major California corporations, foundations, public agencies, colleges and universities.

Among the more than 200 participants from all 23 CSU campuses, two SDSU students placed tops in their categories.

Brandonn Zamudio captured first place in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Session for undergraduates.  He won a $500 prize for his presentation titled “Effects of Late Gestational Cannabinoid Exposure on Behavioral Development in Rats,” based on a pre-clinical model investigating how marijuana use during pregnancy may affect brain development.

After graduating in May with a degree in psychology, Zamudio plans to obtain clinical experience and attend medical school.

“After presenting at conferences, I realized that being able to communicate research findings to the general public is as important as conducting research itself,” he said.  “Students should showcase their research, not only because it provides them with great experience, but because it will make them reflect on how their work has real world applications and contributes to society.”

SDSU undergraduate student Ricky DeSantis was a second-place winner in the Humanities, Letters, Creative Arts and Design Session.  His research work, “A Critique of Scientific Knowledge and Contemporary Psychology,” centers on the implications of Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy on mental health.

DeSantis earned a $250 prize and more importantly, gained invaluable experience “getting up in front of people and sharing my ideas.”

With a double major in philosophy and psychology, DeSantis also has presented at other conferences including George Washington University in Washington D.C. and Pacific University in Oregon.

According to SDSU Research Director Rick Gulizia, nearly a dozen SDSU students qualified for the prestigious CSU showdown after impressing jurors with their oral presentations and winning the President’s Award at SDSU's Ninth Student Research Symposium in March. 

The annual campus-wide event drew more than 550 student participants presenting research projects, creative art displays, live dance and musical performances.