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College of Science

CSUMB students place first and second at the CSU Student Research Competition

Claudia Rocha (left) and Paul Dommert

Claudia Rocha (left) and Paul Dommert

May 17, 2021

Two of CSUMB’s Psychology students have won 1st and 2nd place at the 35th Annual California State University Student Research Competition, hosted virtually by CSU Pomona from April 30 - May 1.

Claudia Rocha won 1st place for her presentation “We Will Get Through This!: Using Youth Participatory Action Research as a Tool to Advocate for Latinx Youth During the COVID- 19 Pandemic.”

Paul Dommert won 2nd place for his presentation “Understanding the Psychology of Transformation: A Mixed Methods Investigation into the Dynamics of Significant Psychological Change.”

Both placed in the Behavioral, Social Sciences, and Public Administration category, which came with cash prizes of $500 for first place and $250 for second. They expressed humbleness, honor and gratitude for the experience.

“I am grateful for my mentor, Dr. Jennifer Lovell, and UROC staff for encouraging me and preparing me for this event,” said Rocha. “I have learned many things and am excited about the future."

“This is something I will utilize as motivation for my future endeavors,” said Dommert. “I owe much gratitude to my mentors Dr. Nick Fortino, Dr. Christine Valdez, Dr. Jennifer Dyer-Seymour and all of the wonderful advisors at UROC.”

The CSU Student Research Competition is held each spring and highlights undergraduate and graduate students’ innovative research and creative activity in 10 categories from across the 23 CSU campuses. CSUMB assembled teams of delegates to compete in eight of the categories.

The students had support along the way.

Last year the Koret Foundation, a Jewish philanthropic organization based in San Francisco, donated $1.6 million to the university partly to support the research of CSUMB scholars such as Dommert and Rocha.

The students get reviewed within CSUMB by the Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity committee, chaired by Kent Adams, and those who make that cut go on to the CSU-wide competition.

Natasha Oehlman of UROC (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center) is the CSU Student Research Competition campus coordinator and, prior to the pandemic, would accompany the students to the host schools for the in-person competition. She attended the virtual competition, too.

"For researchers, the CSU SRC is a fantastic way to share research happening at CSUMB as well as learn about the vastly diverse research happening across the CSUs,” Oehlman said.