2023 Spring STEM-NET SoCalGas Student Research Fellowship Recipients

Monica Alarcon



​​​​Congratulations to our Spring 2023 STEM-NET SoCalGas Student Research Fellowship recipients. In partnership with SoCalGas, STEM-NET has awarded six students $2,500 to conduct undergraduate research for the spring 2023 term. These funds support students conducting research ​​under the auspices of a CSU faculty member. Towards the end of their research project, they will participate in a virtual event to present their findings on Thursday, April 27,2023 at 12pm.


Name: Trent Ruiz
Campus: California State University, Channel Islands
Department: Mathematics
College Level: Undergraduate
Major: Applied Physics
Family and Personal background: I am a first-generation college student with a passion for math and science. While my journey leading up to college has been far from easy, my love of physics, learning and sheer determination has brought me here. I am honored to have this opportunity to create, learn and discover. I am a creative at heart, and a scientist by nature.
Hobbies and Favorite Food or Books: My free time is usually consumed by a myriad of projects, from disassembling an analogue pipe organ and re- envisioning it as a functional art piece to spending time in my garden studying soil science, plant nutrition and aquaponics. I am an avid photographer and spend as much time as I can taking photos and developing in my art. I love creating in every way shape and form. Science, especially physics, feeds my desire to learn and supports my grandest dreams and ambitions.
Research Interest: Mathematical modeling and experimental physics
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Cynthia Flores, Mathematics
Future Goals: As I near graduation, I am realizing not only how much I have learned but how much there still is to discover. My research and the mentors in my life have made me more excited than ever for graduate school. My education has been a truly life-changing experience and has put me on a path which makes me excited to get up in the morning. While I am mindful of the present, I am overjoyed for the future.
Research Presentation Title: Computational Aspects of Peridynamic Corrosion
Damage Modeling and Scanning Vibrating Electrode Technique Validation


Student Name: Naomi Carmen Garcia
Campus: California State University, Fresno
Department: College of Science and Mathematics
College Level: Sophomore
Major: Biology
Family and Personal Background: Eldest of four children and daughter of two Mexican
Hobbies and Favorite Food or Books: Baking pastries, competitive swimming, and organizing personal materials into
collages. My favorite food to bake is a blueberry scone.
Research Interest: Environmental biochemistry (algae research). I am interested in developments
that can play a huge role in human environmental health determinants for the future.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kalyani Maitra
Future goals: Attending medical school to become a surgeon. I am interested in specializing in
the cardiothoracic regions of the body.
Research Presentation Title: The Analysis of the Environmental Growth Conditions effecting Algal Biomass and Lipid Accumulation


Name: Y​sabel Espinosa
Campus: CSU San Bernardino
Department: Physics and Astronomy
College Level: Junior
Major: Physics
Family and personal background: my parents are in the medical field, I am a transfer student
Hobbies and Favorite Food or Books: Art such as painting, charcoal drawings, and baking
Research Interest: astronomy
Faculty mentor: Dr. Matteo Crismani
Future Goals: to become a professor
Research Presentation Title: Looking for Martian Meteor Showers


Name: Ernesto Chavez
Campus: California State University, Bakersfield
Department: Biology Department
College Level: Junior
Major: Biology
Family and Personal Background: I am a first-generation college student. My dad immigrated to the US from Mexico at 17 years old and my mom was second generation immigrant. I am the third child of six, and I am also the only male.
Hobbies and Favorite Food or Books: Some of my favorite hobbies include hiking, biking, and listening to music. I have an extensive vinyl collection and I really enjoying going vinyl shopping, as well. I also enjoy taking my dog for walks.
Research Interest: I’m interested in studying chaparral restoration.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. R. Brandon Pratt
Future Goals: My future goal is to become an educator and teach biology.
Research Presentation  Title: Plant Traits that Promote Successful Establishment when Restoring Degraded Southern California Shrublands


Name: Ethan Lucsik
Campus: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Chemistry and Biochemistry
College Level: Sophomore
Major: Biochemistry
Family and Personal Background: I was born and raised in Tujunga California with three brothers being the second oldest. I have always had a supportive family in my academic and life pursuits, and I am appreciative for all they have done for me. I've had aspirations ever since I was young about studying chemistry as it has always been an interesting subject to me, and I hope to continue my journey through academia and complete my PhD.
Hobbies and Favorite Food or Books: Surfing is my favorite pastime. I enjoy any books by Ray Bradbury or George Orwell.
Research Interest: Metal Organic Frameworks
Faculty Mentor: Fangyuan Tian
Future Goals: Graduate with a B.S. in science and transfer to graduate school to complete research for my PhD.
Research Presentation Title: Biodegradable Metal-organic Framework thin Film as Drug-eluting Stent Coating


Name: Erica Therese B. Esteban
Campus: California State University, Fullerton
College Level: Senor
Department: Chemistry and Biochemistry
Major: Biochemistry
Family and Personal background: I am Filipino! My family and I are quite spontaneous when it comes to traveling. We are more than halfway through visiting all the 50 states in America!
Hobbies and favorite food or books: I enjoy traveling and going on road trips! I love discovering new places to visit and eat with my family and friends. My favorite food is sushi.
Research Interest: Negative Thermal Expansion Materials
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Joya Cooley
Future Goals: To be involved in the dentistry whether it be a dentist to directly treat patients or to pursue a PhD in Craniofacial Molecular Biology that will contribute to developing new treatments for dental cases.
Research Presentation Title: Local and Long-range Structural Investigation of a Solid Solution Exhibiting Tunable Thermal Expansion