Campus: CSU Bakersfield -- April 10, 2003

Student Research Competition Produces Winners

Nathan Miller, a California State University, Bakersfield junior computer science major constructed a humanoid robot that helped him land a prestigious internship for the University of Southern California Center for Robotics and Embedded Systems.

Miller, along with 18 other CSUB students will be presenting their research at the CSUB Student Research Competition, Friday, April 11 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the Rayburn S. Dezember Leadership Development Center, Room 401. The competition is open to all CSUB students and topics cover diverse issues such as suburban sprawl; the production of the cancer-fighting agent, Taxol; and various water, social and demographic studies relating to Kern County.

Many of these students will use their research experience to get them into graduate schools or further career opportunities. Miller was able to use his to obtain a summer job and an invaluable experience.

A member of the CSUB Student Research Scholars program - a privately funded program, which supports undergraduate and graduate research - Miller constructed a vision-based robot that can identify an object, seek it out and pick it up.

He posted his research on his website: www.intelligentlabs.com and "on a whim" called USC and asked someone for their robotics department to take a look at it. A few weeks later, Miller received a call from a USC professor who asked him to come to Los Angeles for an interview.

"I went down there and made a short presentation on what I did and what I could do for them," Miller said. "They came up with a project for me that falls under the overall project they're doing for NASA."

Miller will be constructing a motion capture suit for USC. The suit is being designed to record the motion of the person wearing it so the information can be stored and analyzed for other applications, which may be used by NASA.

Miller is excited about the internship, which he believes may provide him the opportunity to work on a doctorate degree at USC. It may also help him achieve his life-long goal of working for NASA. The young scholar attributes his success and this opportunity to the CSUB Student Research Scholars program.

"I probably wouldn't have received this internship without the research scholars program," he said. "It gave me the money to finance my project and the faculty mentor to guide me through the process, but more importantly, conducting the research through the university substantiates my research, which looks better to places like USC."

The CSUB Student Research Scholars program is funded by university supporters through a donor club called the President's Associates. Each year, the President's Associates grant 12 students $2,000 to $2,500 scholarships to enable them to conduct scholarly research. The students are sponsored by a faculty mentor and required to present their research at the CSUB research competition. Most of the student researchers also present their research at the CSU statewide competition. This year, the state competition will be held at the California State University, Stanislaus in May.

Contact: Becky Zelinski, 661/664-2138, abzelinski@csub.edu or Mike Stepanovich,
661/664-2456, mstepanovich@csub.edu


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