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Summer SURF 2018 Faculty Projects

Social Sciences and Humanities

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  Criminalization of Immigrants in Ventura County

 There is a dire need for assistance to compile stories of non-US Citizens adversely affected by current immigration enforcement and local detention policies in Ventura County. Students will gather and compile both quantitative and qualitative data regarding non-U.S. citizens who are detained by Ventura County Sheriff at Ventura County jails and subsequently placed into Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) proceedings. This is a great opportunity for students who are self-motivated and interested in immigration law/policy and advocacy on behalf of immigrants and civil rights. Students will work with Professor José Alamillo to learn about historical and contemporary immigration laws and policies, with a focus on immigration detention policies. Students will also meet leaders the immigration rights movement throughout California and consult with immigration attorney Vanessa Frank. Spanish-English bilingual is preferred, but not required.

Student researchers will:

  •  Conduct interviews (questions have already been developed) in Spanish or English with those detained and/or family members of detainees. These interviews would require a high level of cultural competency in working with immigrant populations
  • Record information gathered. Quantitative data should be compiled in an easy-to-read format, such as an Excel spreadsheet. Qualitative data should be compiled into simple summaries, articles for press or social media publication. All information needs to be presented in Spanish and English for purposes of both informing policy strategy and also working with community advocates to engage in political pressure
  • Write a Research Paper based on the quantitative and qualitative data gathered to submit for publication in an undergraduate research journal.
  • Make a public presentation at an academic conference.
  • Present results to local community groups to raise awareness about this project, and work with community advocates to develop policy objectives and strategies to improve human and civil rights in Ventura County and beyond.
José M. Alamillo is Professor and Coordinator of the Chicana/o Studies Program at California State University, Channel Islands (Camarillo, CA). Author of “Making Lemonade out of Lemons: Mexican American Labor and Leisure in a California Town” and other publications on Latino/a Studies, immigration, and sports. Has led community-based research projects on the Bracero Program, Oxnard’s Wagon Wheel Community, and Latinos in Baseball with students conducting the majority of research.

 

  Disability and Juvenile Justice in Southern California

Drawing from the disciplines of disability studies, political science, sociology, criminology, juvenile justice, and public policy, this project focuses on closing the gap between contemporary knowledge of autism, disability rights, and the theory and practice of criminal justice directed at young people in Southern California. Autism is an excellent case study to employ in the consideration of the intersections of rights, accountability, identity, and diversity in the context of disability in the juvenile justice system. First and foremost, the proportion of the population identified as having autism increased dramatically since the early 1990s. While the degree to which this increase represents a genuine change in the levels of neurodiversity present in either country remains hotly debated, the recorded increase has implications for all public programs serving youth. In the context of juvenile justice these implications arise in part from increased demand for services and also because of the gaps in expertise regarding disability as element of diversity in public programs. Finally, increased public awareness of autism could motivate autistics and people with autism to exercise their rights in the juvenile justice system. Using these rights as a mechanism for increased inclusion could help youth with autism avoid, reduce or reshape their interactions with justice systems. This study explores how the diversity-oriented rights of youth with autism and autistic youth manifest in the public policies and programs producing and dispensing juvenile justice in Southern California.

Disability engages all aspects of human existence. As recent disability scholars and activists have argued, many elements of disability experiences are positive. However, comprehension of the experiences of people with disabilities and the capacity of our public infrastructures to maximize the potential of all people with divergent capacities remains seriously underdeveloped. In particular, interactions between the juvenile justice system and young people with autism (and autistics) have been complicated by the underexplored dynamics of how to balance the rights and responsibilities of all stakeholders. As much as freedom is the outcome of accountability, democratic accountability is the outcome of actualized diversity. One place where freedom, accountability, and diversity manifest most poignantly is juvenile justice systems. Understanding how to practice disability policy as diversity depends on an ability to protect rights in the more unfortunate or extreme situations experienced in a democracy. Criminal proceedings involving individuals yet to attain the age of majority constitute some of the more challenging quagmires of societies committed to both civil liberties and continual social improvement.

While some areas of disability studies have moved beyond a rights-based approach, the manner and degree to which human and civil rights are established and protected in the context of juvenile justice remains insufficiently explored. Findings of this study will serve to improve design of juvenile justice policies and practices through increased understanding of how public systems are designed around expectations of neurotypicality and a singular definition of human worth and success rooted around the preferences and capacities those considered neurologically typical. Results of this study will help scholars and stakeholders can better understand how to create a more neuroethical system and a more openly neurodiversity society.

Dr. Dana Lee Baker is an Associate Professor of Political Science at CSUCI. Prior to joining CI’s faculty in the fall of 2017, Dr. Baker served on the faculties of Washington State University and University of Missouri-Columbia. Dr. Baker is the author of dozens of publications focused on neurodiversity policy and politics including: The Politics of Neurodiversity: Why Public Policy Matters (2011); Neuroethics in Higher Education (2016, with Brandon Leonard); and Inculpable Intentions: Youth with Autism and Juvenile Justice Practitioners in Canada and the United States (forthcoming, with Laurie Drapela and Whitney Littlefield). Over the course of her career, Dr. Baker has had the honor of conducting research with many students. As a faculty member at WSU, Dr. Baker ran a Neurodiversity and Public Policy lab for undergraduates and graduates. Over the course of its 6 years in operation, students authored or co-authored published conference presentations, articles and book chapters.

 

Testimonios of an HSI: Examining Online Education Experiences of Latina/o/x Students Attending an HSI.

Researchers interrogating online education have found that distance learning models have not been effective in reducing the educational achievement gap. Recent research points to a negative effect online learning classes have on students of color (Kaupp, 2010; Palacios &Wood 2016). In two studies of college students enrolled in California community colleges Kaupp (2012), and Palacios and Wood (2016) found that all students pay penalty for enrolling in online classes, meaning that they are likely to perform worse than they would in face to face courses. Kaupp (2010) found that Latina/o/x students enrolled in California community colleges were less likely to enroll in online classes but also less likely to remain in the course and more likely to receive a lower grade. Palacios and Wood (2016) found that for male Latino/x students face to face learning produced better results. Still, studies suggest for a closer inspection of the quality of online learning environments before dismissing them completely.

The demand for online learning continues to grow even if schools are not embracing online education. The Sloan Consortium conducted a nationwide survey that tracks the growth and nature of online learning. During the fall of 2009, 5.6 million students, representing 29% of the total college and university enrollment, took at least one online course. This number of students represents an increase of 21% over the previous year, the largest annual increase in the eight years of the survey. In fact, while small schools with less than 15,000 student enrollments have been hesitant to adopt online learning as a mode of education, enrollment in online schools has exploded. Larger, schools have embraced online learning and educate approximately 67% of all students enrolled in online classes.

Online education research has focused on large schools with enrollment over 15,000 students, and that same research has found overall negative effects or Latina/o community college students enrolled in online classes (Kaupp, 2010; Palacios & Wood 2016). But, the research also suggests a closer inspection of the context of online education. Understanding this context is vital in our state of California where there is a large achievement gap, There is a significant gap in graduation rates between students of color and White students, out 100 Latina/o/x students who enter high school only 10 will achieve an undergraduate degree, while 40 of 100 White students who enter high school will earn a college degree (Perez-Huber et al., 2010). This project fills in a gap found in online education research by focusing on a public university designated as Hispanic Serving Institution with enrollment under 15,000 students. This study will take a Critical Race Theory approach to understand the context impacting online learning experiences for Latina/o/x students.

In this project we will take a mixed-methods approach, giving students an opportunity to develop research skills utilizing multiple research methods. In the first phase of this project we will conduct a quantitative analysis that will include a survey of students’ experiences and performance in online classes. In the second phase of this project students will have an opportunity to conduct a qualitative analysis that will include a Critical Race Theory (CRT) approach to conducting qualitative research, student researchers will have a choice to create either Testimonios or conduct CRT interviews. Student researchers will have an opportunity to gather Testimonios or to interview with both professors and students who have participated in online education. Students involved in this research study will be guided from the literature review stage through the development of manuscript to publish.

Sergio Fernando Juarez is a Lecturer in Communication Studies with an interest in social justice and inequality. He Is a CI alum, Class of 2008, he recently graduated with his Ph.D. from the University of Denver. Sergio’s dissertation titled “Resilience and Struggle: Exploring the Experiences of Undocumented College Students through Chicana Feminist Theory and Dialogical Performance” interrogated the experiences of undocumented students on higher education campuses with inclusive excellence policies. He has also published several book chapters including “Creeper Bogeyman: Cultural Narratives of Gay as Monstrous” in Disgust and Desire: Humanity’s Paradoxical Relationship with Monsters. At CI, Dr. Juarez teaches courses in Intercultural Communication, Community Storytelling, Public Speaking, and Group Communication.

 

  British Propaganda & the Impossible Black Female Body: The Tale of Suzanne L’Ouverture,

My project looks at the types of British propaganda surrounding the alleged torture in 1804 of Suzanne Simone Baptiste – also known as Madame Toussaint Louverture – in France. Almost nothing has been written about Suzanne until a copy of a letter was published anonymously in London’s anti-slavery journal, the Christian Observer in November 1804 (supposedly taken verbatim?) from a letter (from a Madame Bernard, who allegedly met Madame Louverture in Saint-Domingue) dated 6 September 1804. The narrative of Madame L’Ouverture’s suffering – which expanded the spatial limits of this brutality (and her body) from France to Britain – offered a stunning rebuttal to tentative French conversations about blacks being part of the French body politic. Simultaneously, the tale allowed different outside entities like the British press and satirists to spin the traumatic events surrounding the Haitian Revolution – calling into question French civilization – via the black body of Toussaint’s widow.

As with many of the black women in my larger study (this will begin as a journal article and ultimately be expanded into a book manuscript), the rhetoric surrounding them is often as telling as the “truths” assigned to them. What this means is that we don’t need to prove this event happened. What we get to uncover is why someone (or several people) thought it was necessary to create this terrible story. The letter about the torture reappeared in France, England, the United States and Haiti. The minister of the French police, Joseph Fouché, thought the letter (or the accusations contained within it) important enough to directly comment upon its contents during one of his daily meetings with Napoleon; indeed, the mention to Napoleon speaks to the significance of the story at an elevated level. Especially given the repeated commentary about the legitimacy or lack thereof of his Empire. But Britain took the lead in sharing this story, and that is where the research needs to begin. To date, no one has done any historical work about this letter, or the fallout that the letter generated.

This newly discovered document represents the perfect opportunity to engage in primary source investigation from the ground up. Together we will begin this innovative and interdisciplinary project, taking the original story and breaking it into pieces. Why did this document appear in this newspaper? Who is Madame Bernard? Why would someone make this claim? Is any of this real? Student researcher(s) will play detective with me, locating images, newspaper clippings, diary entries, and other primary and secondary sources. They will learn how to find and then learn to analyze primary sources, looking beyond what the sources say and moving into the motivations of the people producing them. They will get to formulate historical questions, thus systematically and collaboratively contributing to our knowledge in the history of race and gender in both British and French history.

Thus, expected learning outcomes for this new research assistant will include: understanding, through direct experience, how scholarly research is conducted, reviewed, and prepared for publication; gaining the ability to organize and manage primary and secondary source materials; and developing research skills through direct observation and participation in the process of preparing a book length manuscript.

Robin Mitchell is an award-winning Assistant Professor of History. She received her doctorate in Late Modern European History from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Her scholarship includes the forthcoming manuscript, VÉNUS NOIRE: Black Women, Colonial Fantasies, and the Production of Gender & Race in France, 1804-1848, with the University of Georgia Press; and numerous articles including “Ourika Mania: Interrogating Race, Class, Space, and Place in Early 19th-Century France.” Dr. Mitchell has extensive experience working with student research assistants; in fact, the student research assistant (for her first manuscript) who came to work for her as an undergraduate (and then as a graduate student) has been able to parlay her experience into professional editing career.

  Geographies of Change: Mapping, Analyzing, and Making Sense of Changing Neighborhoods in the Golden State

 As the United States becomes increasingly diverse, many have pointed to California as an example of demographic shifts projected to take place throughout the rest of the nation due its previous experience with diverse populations. Often, these changes are discussed at the aggregate level (e.g. shifts in California’s immigrant population or Los Angeles County’s increased racial and ethnic diversity). However, this macro-level approach overlooks more local, micro-level shifts taking place across neighborhoods. The spatial approach to neighborhood change draws on Tobler’s First Law of Geography which states “everything is related to everything else but near things are more related than distant ones.” This project will utilize spatial analysis and geographic information systems (GIS) to investigate several forms of neighborhood change taking place throughout California. The project will examine racial and ethnic change in addition to emerging neighborhood trends related to economic, educational, environmental, and other demographic shifts. Using recently released data from the American Community Survey, U.S. Census, and other data sources, this study will provide a spatial portrait of change and provide a place-specific context to California’s transforming neighborhood mosaic. This project seeks to explore how the spatial context and boundaries of California’s neighborhoods have changed over time. This larger body of research extends my current work on emerging

Latino middle-class neighborhoods in Southern California. I will train and mentor students in the processes and methodologies related to my own work while preparing to develop their own projects related to topics that might include gentrification, residential segregation, health disparities, and concentrated disadvantage.

Students will be incorporated in various parts of the research process including literature reviews, data extraction, mapping, and the presentation of results through various forms. This research will provide students the opportunity to 1) engage with the literature on neighborhood effects and neighborhood change, 2) be trained in the basics of ArcGIS (mapping software) and other forms of spatial analysis (no previous GIS experience is necessary), 3) develop their own research project related to a particular type of neighborhood change (or focus on a specific metropolitan area), and 4) present their work at multiple venues including the Southern California

Conference on Undergraduate Research (SCCUR), Pacific Sociology Association (PSA) annual meeting, CSU Social Science Student Symposium and/or CSU Research Competition.

In addition to completing traditional research “deliverables,” such as a research note, poster, or oral presentation, students will work to develop and interactive story map (https://storymaps.arcgis.com/en/) in an effort to communicate findings to a general audience (including academic and non-academic settings). Other student opportunities might include a visit to ESRI Headquarters in Redlands, CA

(ArcGIS developers) and “on the ground” experience visiting select neighborhoods in the region to gain a more in-depth understanding of contextual factors or other information not present in the data.

Luis Sanchez. I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology who joined CSUCI in the fall of 2013. I am a Ventura County native (originally from Santa Paula) but earned my bachelor’s degree in Sociology at the Ohio State University and completed my graduate work in Sociology and Demography at Pennsylvania State University. My research focuses on immigration, immigrant incorporation, and using spatial techniques to better understand the changing demographic context of the United States. I generally teach Social Statistics, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, and Population Studies and have previous experience mentoring research students. In 2016 I was humbled to receive the Pacific Sociological Association’s Early Career Award for Innovation in Teaching for my work in engaging students in research.

Math and Science

Ahmed Awad Design, synthesis and development of novel nucleoside analogues as potent antibacterial and anticancer agents

Resistance to antimicrobial drugs is a great concern for pharmaceutical industry and public health agencies. Drug-resistant bacteria (also known as superbugs) are microbes that can develop resistance to all kind of antibiotics available.  The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention estimates that at least 23,000 in the U.S. and 700,000 globally die every year from multidrug-resistant infections. One way to address the concern is to develop novel drugs that are active against these resistant microbes. Research scientists have been preparing and testing many new chemical compounds before identifying substances with potential and favorable results. Those substances were subject to more detailed evaluations to discover compounds that kill microbes or cancer cells. Nucleosides are the building blocks of nucleic acids, DNA and RNA. Nucleoside analogues, such as puromycin, are chemically modified nucleosides that have shown promising results as antimicrobial agents and as components of potential anticancer drugs. In this project, students will investigate and develop novel nucleoside analogues that can be screened as effective agents to treat microbial infections or cancer. Two proposed modifications will be introduced to the nucleoside structure; sulfonamide derivatives and di-, tri-, or tetraethylene glycol moieties. Sulfonamides are an important class of compounds that have been reported as antibacterial, anticancer, and antiviral drugs, and at least two clinically used HIV inhibitors possess sulfonamide moieties in their molecules. The polyethylene glycol is long in length that they may enhance the inhibitory effect of such analogues by wrapping around the target molecules. The synthetic molecules will be evaluated as antimicrobials against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria and will be submitted to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for screening in their 60 cell line assay system. In future work, these analogues will also be tested as inhibitor for NDM-1 (an enzyme some of the most devastating bacteria produced to get their antibiotic resistance).

The participating SURFers (2 to 4 students are recommended) will work in either one or two research groups to develop an effective and convenient methods to synthesize the target molecules. The faculty member will introduce the synthetic method, and will propose alternative solutions for possible problems. Students will then perform literature survey, collect reported protocols, and with the guidance’s of the faculty research mentor will develop their synthetic schemes. Students proposals will be discussed before an efficient synthetic route are recommended. After intensive training provided by the faculty, students and the faculty will work on their synthetic protocols, purify their products by column chromatography and HPLC, characterize their new compounds using NMR, Mass Spec and X-ray techniques, perform the antimicrobial tests, and analyze their data for the final conclusion. Students will expect to be excited to complete their work and submit it for presentation or/and publication. They should commit to the eight-week faculty-mentored student research collaborative during the summer 2018 and also excited to work during the fall semester 2018 to complete the project. The faculty will be present to mentor and train students, and will make himself available at any time to provide them with guidance and advice. There will be a daily group meeting to discuss the background of the project and the progress of the work. Students will be recognized and acknowledged for their efforts. Those who produced outstanding research will be able to present their work at scientific conferences (including SCCUR, CSUPERB, and ACS) and will be encouraged to submit their work for publication. In addition, outstanding students will be nominated for research awards and scholarships.

Ahmed Awad, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, CSU Channel Islands. Education: Postdoctoral Research Associate, UC Santa Barbara, 2006-2007; Postdoctoral Research Associate, Iowa State University, 2004-2006; Ph.D., Ulm University, Ulm, Germany, Bioorganic Chemistry, 2004. Selected Publications: * Undergraduate students’ names are marked with an asterisk: 1. Robert Van Ostrand*, Casey Jacobsen*, Alicia Delahunty*, Carley Stringer*, Ryan Noorbehesht*, Haidi Ahmed*, and Ahmed M. Awad, Nucleosides, Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids, 36,181-197 (2017); 2. Theodore V. Peterson*, Tobin U. B. Streamland*, and Ahmed M. Awad, Molecules, 19, 2434-2444 (2014); 3. Eric R. Samuels*, Joshua McNary*, Maribel Aguilar*, and Ahmed M. Awad, Nucleosides, Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids, 32, 109-123 (2013); 4. Ahmed M. Awad, Michael J. Collazo*, Kathrinna Carpio*, Christina Flores*, and Thomas C. Bruice, Tetrahedron Letters, 53, 3792-3794 (2012)

 

 

Cellular mechanisms and neuronal networks

Significance. The human brain is capable of processing sensory stimuli in the form of different modalities (e.g. smell, taste, sight, touch and sound) used to sense our environment on a daily basis. Despite this appreciation, the underlying genes and neuronal mechanisms that mediate our capability to process information from our surroundings and perform cognitive behaviors, including, decision-making are still not clear.

Research Goals. My lab uses the invertebrate worm C. elegans to understand the cellular mechanisms and neuronal networks that process information from odors that may be attractive or repulsive to coordinate decision-making behavior. Projects associated with this research goal will use a specific behavioral paradigm that examines a worm’s ability to 1) integrate multiple sensory cues simultaneously originating from food odors or from repulsive chemicals and 2) execute an escape behavior. This project will take advantage of manipulating the genes and neurons of the worms “brain” based on the fact that the worm’s genome has previously been mapped and all neuronal connections that make up the worms nervous system are known. This provides a platform to ask fundamental questions of how the nervous system senses complex arrays of stimuli and are able to process this information and perform the appropriate behavior that may be essential for survival.

Student Involvement. In summer of 2018, my proposed “CI” research students will perform research in my lab to investigate the neuronal signaling molecules and neuronal networks that mediate sensory-dependent decision-making. This project will involve students learning and testing a behavioral paradigm where worms are challenged with both attractive and repulsive cues at the same time to examine worm choice behavior and overall escape response executed. Using a microscope, students and I will examine worms that lack either specific genes or key neurons of the nervous system to determine the cellular mechanisms and neural circuits that drive these types of complex behaviors.

Aim 1(Characterizing the genes). To identify the genes that are required for this multi-sensory decision-making behavior, students will examine mutant worm strains that lack individual neuronally expressed genes encoding signaling molecules that share conservation with mammalian systems, and that play important roles in sensation, decision-making and behave oral output. Students will characterize how different families of neuronally expressed genes play a role in sensory-dependent decision-making behavior, two of the types of neuronal signaling molecules that students will examine, include neuropeptides and electrical gap junctions. Interestingly, the human nervous system extensively uses these two types of signaling components to coordinate all types of neuronal dependent behavior, including decision-making, learning, and cognitive functions. Aim 2(Characterizing the neurons). Students will dissect the role of different individual neurons of the worm’s nervous system in mediating this multi-sensory decision-making behavior. To achieve this, students will examine how different neurons of the worm’s nervous system contribute to these behaviors. Specifically, students will examine worm strain’s that lack function of individual neurons (neuronal cells have been killed or de-activated) in the above behavioral paradigm to identify candidate neurons.

Goals for Students. To complete these projects each student will learn a specific behavioral assay that examines sensory-dependent decision-making.  Students will learn various aspects of biology, including, cell biology, genetics, behavior and neuroscience associated with neuronal control of behaviors described above. Overall, this project will allow students to engage in using genetics and cell biology, work with a model organism and collaborate with other students with similar interests in biology and learn about working in a laboratory setting.

As a Neuroscientist, Dr. Gareth Harris has used the worm model system, C. elegans, to study the neuronal signaling molecules that control behavior. His work in C. elegans began at Salford University as a Masters student (2003), where he investigated the effects of bacterial pathogenesis on survival. Dr. Harris then pursued his Ph.D at the University of Toledo (2005-2010), where he dissected the neuronal mechanisms that control how the behavioral state of an organism influences decision-making behavior in response to dangerous stimuli. From 2010-2017, Dr. Harris completed his Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University, where he continued his work using C. elegans to understand how organisms are able to process sensory information provided by both food and danger cues to coordinate behavior. Dr. Harris has developed expertize in numerous areas, including, nervous systems, genetics, physiology and cell biology and has extensive experience with working with undergraduate students in Biology.
Shorebird ecosystems

Problem:  The Ventura Audubon Society conducts a conservation program on Ormond Beach focused on two State and Federally listed shorebirds that nest in the sandy dunes in that location, the western snowy plover (WSP) (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus) and the California least tern (CLT) (Sternula antillarum brownii).  Although these shorebirds are uniquely adapted to live in a dynamic beach environment, coastal development and human activity have severely impacted these sensitive species and for decades they have faced potential extinction.  Students in 2018 will have the opportunity to be a part of the 16th year of this program.  The Ventura Audubon Shorebird Recovery Program is an integrated conservation program that combines scientific research, species protection and public outreach.  Students will partake in research, learn critical job skills and have the opportunity for professional development.

Student Research Goals

1. Learn the use of trail cameras to monitor predator activity and document nest depredation.  Using collected predator data, assist in nest protection efforts utilizing predator exclosures.

2. Assess nesting patterns to maximize nest protection methods and provide imagery and data to the public outreach program.

3. Provide 2018 population and nesting outcome metrics to inform Federal and State recovery goals for CLT and WSP

4. Present season research results at the Fall Faculty-Student Research Showcase.  There will also be opportunities for students to present at other forums, such as the Western Snowy Plover Recovery Unit 5 annual meeting and Volunteer Naturalist Training meetings.

Student Research Methods:  Under the supervision of a permitted field biologists, students will learn identification of WSP by age and gender and CLT by age.  They will learn how to locate nests using tracking methods and sight identification, how to approach nests with minimal disturbance to brooding adults, use of GPS to create nest way points, determination of nest hatch or fail based on tracks and evidence in and around the nest, as well as tracking and age identification of chicks of both species.  Chicks will be searched for, re-sighted when possible and documented with GPS weekly.  Carcasses and unhatched eggs will be collected and submitted to the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology in Camarillo, California where unhatched eggs are assessed for embryonic development.  Students will learn to use trail cameras to document nest depredation and determine nature of predators on site and assess the risk to nests based on this data.  Using this information students will learn to adapt nest protection methods to maximize nesting success.  Students will be required to document the data they collect using standardized spreadsheets consistent with requirements for federal and state permits and have the opportunity to generate GIS maps of the location of nests and threats to nesting success.

Student Benefits: Students will receive training that follows a Statement of Work protocol that adheres to field methods mandated by the CLT and WSP species recovery plans published by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and California Department of Fish and Wildlife.  Methods are consistent range wide for both shorebird species.  They will work directly with endangered shorebirds and in the process, develop decision making skills based on field data they collect that will directly impact nesting outcome.  Successful students will earn experience hours and guidance towards their own Section 10(a)(1)(A) Federal Recovery and California State Section 2081(b) Scientific Collecting permits for CLT and WSP.  The skills taught in this program also provide competitive job skills for employment to work with these and similar endangered species.

Dr. Cynthia Hartley is a lecturer at CSUCI teaching Geographic Information Systems (GIS) with the ESRM Department.  She has worked with endangered shorebirds since the mid-1990’s on Ormond Beach and is the coordinator of Ventura Audubon’s Shorebird Recovery Project and the chapter Vice-President.  She holds Federal and State permits to work with the listed California least tern and the western snowy plover.  Hartley has a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from UCSB and a master’s degree in GIS from the University of Maryland.  Hartley is a member of the Ormond Beach Scientific Advisory Committee that advises The Nature Conservancy, The City of Oxnard and the California Coastal Conservancy plan for the Ormond Beach Restoration.

 

  Swarm Robotics

 This project is a continuation of an ongoing research project related to swarm robotics. The purpose of this research is to design algorithms to control large groups of autonomous (no human driver) robots to search for and collect resources in an unknown area. NASA is interested in this area of research in relation to its Mars mission where they want to send groups of Mars Rovers to gather ice which can be used to create fuel to power a spaceship for a return trip to Earth.

During the Spring 2017 semester CSUCI participated in the NASA Swarmathon Competition (http://nasaswarmathon.com), where CI was among 20 minority-serving institutions in this national robotics competition. Through generous funding from the Instructionally Related Activities Committee we were able to take 20 students to Kennedy Space Center for the competition. In the Spring 2018 semester CSUCI will again participate in the competition and offer a special topics course related to the project. As part of the competition CI received three-wheeled mobile robots (mini Mars Rovers) that are equipped with several sensors and computing equipment that are available for Summer SURF students to use.

The intention of this research project is to continue and extend the experience for some of the students who will be working on the Swarmathon competition to formalize their work into a proper research project.  In the fast-paced environment of a robotics competition sometimes just getting something to work takes precedence over perhaps doing something in a novel or optimal way that may take longer to develop.  By participating in this summer research project students will be able to take the time to explore the area of swarm robotics more deeply and try out ideas that were just not possible in the context of the competition.

Last summer there were six students working in my lab related to this project. Two of them were graduate students, one was a visiting Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) student from North Carolina, and three were Summer SURF fellows. With a large number of students working on related projects we were able to have a very collaborative atmosphere in the lab, so there were opportunities for SURF fellow to learn from each other in addition to the mentorship that I provided. This summer I intend to again apply to host 1-2 students from other universities who have taken part in the competition for REU positions that are sponsored through NASA, and I expect to have graduate students working in the lab as well.

The role students will play on the project will be to work as a team to develop, implement, and test novel algorithms for swarm (group) robotic search and collection.  The algorithms will be coded in C++ programming language using ROS (Robotic Operating System) and will be tested on both simulation and on real robots. Students will be expected to read relevant research papers in this area and participate in a weekly group discussion of the literature.

Jason T. Isaacs received the Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA, in 2012 under the supervision of Professor João Hespanha. He received a B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Kentucky in 1999. Upon graduation he spent the next six years working as a motion control development engineer for Lexmark International Incorporated focusing on the paper feeding systems of inkjet printers. He spent a summer as a research intern in the Sensor Fusion group at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Adelphi, MD, USA, in 2008. Upon completion of his Ph.D. in March 2012, he continued at UCSB as a postdoctoral scholar where he led a three year applied research project sponsored through the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies. Dr. Isaacs is currently an assistant professor of Computer Science at California State University, Channel Islands. His research interests include multiagent control systems.

 

  Bat survey of Santa Rosa Island

I am interested in understanding how we can identify the species of a free-flying bat using recordings of their search-phase echolocation calls.  Using acoustic data is becoming more acceptable as a voucher for the presence of a species of bat, but only in cases where the calls of one species are easily distinguished from the calls of others in the area.  Bat researchers are comfortable using descriptive statistics to describe bats to species, and some use more sophisticated clustering methods (e.g., discriminant functions, classification trees).  I want to apply these techniques to the species on Santa Rosa Island, and I want to explore the use of some more sophisticated approaches such as deep learning so more species can be identified reliably without human intervention.

In reviewing documents and papers about Santa Rosa Island (e.g., the Channel Islands National Park Final General Management Plan Wilderness Study Environmental Impact Statement, “Distribution of the Bats of the California the Channel Islands”) and in communicating with other experts in the field, it appears that not much is known about bat species on Santa Rosa Island, especially since the feral pigs and eagles have been removed.  Having some previous experience working with biologists on bat surveys in Missouri, I understand how to work with students to collect acoustic data on free flying bats in the wilderness.

For the SURF program, I would like to work with a small team of students that include mathematics and biology majors to start designing and conducting a survey of bats on Santa Rosa Island.  Students will be involved in every aspect of the project: collecting data, recommending site selection, reviewing data, and creating models for species identification.

A preliminary survey done on the island in November 2017 suggests that bats are abundant on the island, but that conditions for collecting data harsh.  Our work will require a Scientific Research and Collecting Permit from the National Park Service, and it may also require a collection permit from the U.S. Park and Wildlife Service.  (I intend to submit applications for these in November 2017.)  We will also consult with field biologist include Dr. Allison Alvarado (Biology) and the noted bat researchers Pat Brown (UCLA) and Bill Rainey  (Berkeley).  There is also the chance we could consult with Kim Livengood and Chris Corben, two specialists in the technology we will use.

Our work will involve collecting recordings of the ultrasonic search-phase calls of free flying bats on the island, organizing those recordings, and then studying them using mathematical methods.  Finding and recording the bats  requires an understanding of the natural history of the bat species that we expect to encounter, identification of the likely foraging locations of those bats (which requires an understanding of the island fauna, insect populations, and microclimates).  Our work will be intellectually and physically rigorous.  Obtaining recordings will require us to spend a significant amount of time on Santa Rosa Island, scouting corners of the island that are distant from the bunkhouse and working from an overnight basecamp.

We will work with recording instruments from Titley Electronics, consulting with the bat ecologists at their U.S. office in Columbia, Missouri.  We will use the Anabat Walkabout to scout locations for month-long passive surveys, and we will sue the Anabat Swift for month-location collections of data.  Data will be reviewed and cleaned and Anabat Insight software before being saved to a MySQL database along with call measurements that will be used for statistical identification.  Thi database will be online and made available for the public through (hopefully) a link on the Santa Rosa Island Research Station web site

Jason Miller is a Ph.D. mathematician who has been mentoring students in interidsicplinary mathematical biology projects for almost 20 years.  While on the faculty at Truman State University, he secured over $1.5m in NSF funding to establish an interdisciplinary research-focused learning community for mathematics and biology students.  He mentored projects in modeling cancer biology, computer vision and plant identification, and quantitiative identification of bats.  Having just joined the mathematics faculty at CI after a stint serving the Dark Side, he is eager to use his experience with bats to give CI students a unique and exciting research experience that integrates the mathematical and scientific ways of understanding the world around us.

 

  Climate change and ocean waves

The California Coast is an incredibly important resource in our state, providing livelihoods to individuals and communities. Tourism and recreation are the biggest contributors to our coastal economy and surfing is a cornerstone of these industries and an essential component of California’s coastal culture. Surfing — and the culture and jobs it supports — relies on waves; waves in turn rely on a sensitive confluence of oceanography, topography, and coastal management. Previous research has found that waves are susceptible to impacts from climate change at both global and local scales. In the current project, we will work with a large, pre-existing dataset comprising the local ecological knowledge from thousands of surfers worldwide and use this data to revise and extend projections of climate change impacts on waves in California and around the world. Given the breadth and depth of the dataset, there is ample opportunity for student researchers to create and test their own unique hypotheses, as well as working towards stated project goals of understanding climate change impacts.

In addition to technical outputs, a key goal of this work will be to generate a report targeting the general public and educating them about the localized impacts of climate change on our coasts. To accomplish this, student researchers will receive professional mentoring from expert staff at the Surfrider Foundation. The Surfrider Foundation is an international, not-for-profit, grassroots environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches through education and advocacy. By partnering on this project, Surfrider staff will provide communications and/or policy guidance, mentorship, and potentially a publication venue for any white papers, blog posts, etc., that student researcher’s produce. Headquartered in San Clemente, CA, Surfrider will also provide travel assistance and desk space at their headquarters so that student researchers can spend a part of the summer working with staff in person.

Taken together, this project is an outstanding opportunity to get firsthand experience with interdisciplinary research on important coastal resource management issues as well as to participate in the translation of scientific knowledge into materials for public education and conservation advocacy.

Professor Dan Reineman has spent most of his life in, on or under the water, beginning with his childhood in San Diego, CA. His connection with the ocean inspired his early career in marine biology in California and Hawai‘i. This work focused on how we measure environmental health, but underscored issues in resource management that are at the heart of environmental challenges. With this in mind, he moved to Washington, DC and worked in the US Congress to understand and promote an ocean policy agenda and there witnessed firsthand when and how science, politics, and people affect the policy process. He returned to academia to examine relationships between coastal resources and coastal societies in the context of resource management in a changing environment. Surfing is hugely important but significantly understudied and a topic of special interest for Professor Reineman. Learn more on his website: www.danreineman.com

 

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