2024 Spring SoCalGas Student Research Fellowship Virtual Research Cafe

The STEM-NET SoCalGas Student Research Fellowship program funds undergraduate students to work collaboratively with CSU STEM faculty members on research projects during the spring 2024 semester. The results of their work will be shared during the virtual event on Friday, April 26​th.

​The STEM-NET SoCalGas Student Research Fellowship Virtual Café will feature six student fellowship recipients. Each student will present for 10 minutes followed by Q&A session. The virtual event will be held via Zoom.

Register Here

Schedule & Agenda

Session Name


12:00 p.m. - 12:02 p.m.

Dr. Frank A. Gomez, CSU Office of the Chancellor, Executive Director, STEM-NET

Session Name

Presenter 1

12:02 p.m. - 12:12 p.m.
Ian Sherrill

Student Name: Ian Sherrill
College Level: Undergraduate
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Department: Department of Mechanical Engineering
College: College of Engineering and Computer Science
Campus: California State University, Northridge
Family and Personal Background: I am the eldest of four children. I have enjoyed the sciences since I was young​ and have wanted to be a mechanical engineer for years.
Hobbies: 3D printing, Building/collecting Legos, playing video games, and spending time with my girlfriend.
Research Interest: Using 3D printing and Generative Design as a tool to improve the performance of parts created in CAD software.
Faculty Mentor: Peter L. Bishay
Future Goals: Continue researching 3D printing and Generative Design while pursuing a Master’s.

Presenter 212:12 p.m. - 12:22 p.m.
Robert Hunter

Student Name: Robert Hunter
College Level: Senior
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Department: Department of Mechanical Engineering
College: College of Engineering and Computer Science
Campus: California State University, Northridge
Family and Personal Background: I am a first-generation college student. My father immigrated from the UK at 20,​ and a Catholic family adopted my mom. Both went to trade school. I have an older half-sister who is a registered nurse in Phoenix, Arizona.
Hobbies: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Flying Drones/RC Planes. My favorite Story Bostorybook is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, and my favorite academic book is Aircraft Design: A Systems Engineering Approach by Sadraey Mohammad.
Research Interest: CFD Analysis/ Systems Engineering
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Shadi Mahjoob
Future Goals: My goal is to work in aerospace. Specifically, CFD and thermal analysis for aero-propulsion systems. From there, I hope to attain a Master’s in Aerospace or Systems Engineering. 

Presenter 3

12:22 p.m. - 12:32 p.m.
Riley Bezdek

Student Name: Riley Bezdek
College Level: Sophomore
Major: Computer Science
Department: Department of Computer Science
College: School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Engineering
Campus: California State University Bakersfield
Family and Personal Background: My family consists of incredibly hard workers who devote themselves to everything they do, always looking for opportunities to expand their abilities. They inspire me in all different aspects of my life.
Hobbies and favorite food or books: My hobbies are learning and programming various coding concepts to create new projects. I also enjoy spending time with friends and family whenever I can. My favorite books are any books in the mystery genre, one of my favorites being “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie.
Research Interest: My current research interest is the engineering of energy, including the exploration of energy consumption and renewable energy alternatives. I am interested in exploring the different methods of creating and using energy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Chengwei Lei, Assistant Professor, Computer & Electrical Engineering/Computer Science
Future goals: I will complete my bachelor's degree in Computer Science and work with a software or technology company. In my future career, I hope to utilize technology to impact my community positively. I am thankful to have this opportunity to contribute and advance my research.

Presenter 4

12:32 p.m. - 12:42 p.m.
Alexis Valadez  

Student Name: Alexis Valadez
College Level: Senior
Major: Industrial Design
Department: Art, Design, and Art History
College: College of Arts and Humanities
Campus: Fresno State
Family and personal Background: Family is the net that catches you when you fall and is the pillar that holds you up to your highest self. Some are there at birth; others come along the way, for what is life but a sharing of experiences.
Hobbies and Favorite Food or Books: When I am not soaking in the sun, I like to work on custom automotive work and graphic design. I also enjoy pizza and Rocky Road​ ice cream.
Research Interest: I'd like to understand what a healthy relationship between industrial agriculture and mother nature looks like.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Beth Weinman
Future Goals: City Planning and Social Reform

Presenter 512:42 p.m. - 12:52 p.m.
Brooke Morgan  

Student Name: Brooke Morgan
College Level: Senior
Major: Kinesiology
Department: Health and Human Develo p.m. ent
College: College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
Campus: California State University, Fullerton
Background and Hobbies: I have swum and played soccer competitively all my life. I am learning three languages: Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese (Japanese language is also my minor).
Research Interest: Control of the High-Speed Feeding Mechanism of Plethodontid Salamanders and its Relation to Biological Dependence and Mechanical Structure.
Faculty Mentor: Jeffrey Olberding
Future Goals: I am currently applying to graduate school for a master's degree in Kinesiology with an emphasis on Sociology and the History of Sport. I plan on researching the Sporting Culture of East Asia, specifically Japan. I hope to work in the U.S. or Japan in the future as a Sports Sociology professor/researcher.

Presenter 612:52 p.m. - 1:02 p.m.
Nicole Murdock

Student Name: Nicole Murdock
College Level: Junior
Major: Biochemistry
Department: Chemistry and Biochemistry
College: College of Bailey Science and Mathematics
Campus: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Family and Personal Background: I grew up in Folsom, CA.
Hobbies and favorite food or books: I love dancing. I am currently a competitive ballroom dancer working on my dance minor. I also love the outdoors, backpacking, swimming, climbing, etc.
Research Interest: I plan to continue research in the lab I am currently in through graduation. In this lab, we work on developing, testing, and optimizing off-the-shelf bioluminescent probes.
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Joanna Laird
Future goals: I plan on furthering my education by going to an MD/PhD program.


1:02 p.m. - 1:22 p.m.

Q & A
Audience can ask the presenters questions.

Closing Remarks

1:22 p.m. – 1:25 p.m.

Closing Remarks
Dr. Frank A. Gomez