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 The S​URGE Participant will:
  • increase their academic and social integration with other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) students, faculty, professionals, and industry creating pathways to: 
    • working with faculty and/or industry advisors in defining research goals, processes and data analysis
    • conduct small scale research projects that involve data collection and analysis 
    • creating and presenting a research poster at the COS STEM Symposium or at a National STEM Conference
    • create opportunities for summer research internships and/or summer jobs related to their field of study
    • travel scholarships for professional conferences
    • educational funding and scholarship opportunities
 Check out COS STEM Symposium Books with STEM student projects: fall 2014 Symposium Book.pdf​ 

 

Available Projects

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Abstract
  
  
  
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Project Title3-D Graphical Representation of Soil Mineral Profiles around Fruit and Nut Trees
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorLarry Callan - College of the Sequoias Chemistry Faculty
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students3 maximum
Required Courses & SkillsCompletion of CHEM 1 with a grade of C or better. Familiarity with computer and ability to learn graphing software necessary for project.  Specific software will be determined as part of the project.
Abstract

This project involves working with an almond grower to acquire soil samples from a variety of depths and locations around trees. The data will then be entered into a computer to generate 3-D projections of minerals as concentration vs. depth and location from tree. This is a unique project that is of great interest to growers. Fertilizer quantities and distribution are largely guess work with little data to establish protocols.  Depending upon the success of the first analysis, more may be possible. The farmer has the equipment for sampling, and will provide professional lab analysis for a variety of analytes. The student(s) will be involved in the sampling design as well as the sampling process itself. The goal for the student is to provide meaningful 3-D maps and contours that depict the actual distribution of analytes around the tree root system. Some analysis (pH, etc.) may be required by the student.

StatusFull/Closed
Timeline
Application Deadline
 
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Project TitleAbiotic and Biotic Factors Influencing Vernal Pool Biota
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorBobby Kamansky
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students1-3
Required Courses & SkillsMust have completed a college biology course with a grade of C or better.
Abstract

This project explores water and soil physical-chemical properties and their relationships to vernal pool invertebrate presence and absence. Investigators will sample soils and water along with collecting biological data to determine the relationships among aquatic environments and the biota living within the wetlands. After field investigations collecting appropriate data, lab and statistical analyses will correlate the presence/absence of various wetland invertebrates with water and soil physical-chemical properties.

 

StatusOpen
TimelineVariable days and times depending on faculty lead schedule
Application Deadline4/30/2015
 
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Project TitleDetermination of plant pathogenic Phytophthora species present in an orchard block transitioning from citrus to walnut
College/Industry CollaborationUC Cooperative Extension
Mentor/AdvisorElizabeth Fichtner
MajorsBiology, Chemistry, Plant Science, particularly with interest in agriculture, Agricultural Science, Soil Science
Number of Students2-3
Required Courses & SkillsStudents should have an interest in agricultural science, microbiology, plant pathology, or related field.  Prior completion of introductory biology and chemistry is preferred.
Abstract

As part of a collaborative, statewide research project, we will be planting a walnut rootstock selection trial at the Lindcove Research and Extension Center (LREC) in Exeter, CA.  The walnut block is scheduled to be planted in February 2016 in land formerly containing citrus. Several species of soilborne plant pathogens in the genus Phytophthora are pathogenic on both citrus and walnut. This offers a unique research opportunity for testing the vigor of new walnut rootstocks in soil infested with Phytophthora species that are prevalent or common on citrus.​

StatusOpen
TimelineMay 26-4-6 weeks of hands on work variable days and times, + development of the poster
Application Deadline4/19/2015
 
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Project TitleDetermination of plant pathogenic Phytophthora species present in an orchard block transitioning from citrus to walnut
College/Industry CollaborationUC Cooperative Extension
Mentor/AdvisorElizabeth Fichtner
MajorsBiology, Chemistry, Plant Science, particularly with interest in agriculture, Agricultural Science, Soil Science
Number of Students2-3
Required Courses & SkillsStudents should have an interest in agricultural science, microbiology, plant pathology, or related field.  Prior completion of introductory biology and chemistry is preferred.
Abstract

Since 2011, a new disease caused by a plant pathogenic bacterium, Rhodococcus fascians, has emerged on pistachio rootstocks in California, Arizona, and New Mexico.   The disease, called ‘Pistachio Bushy Top Syndrome’ has had drastic economic consequence for pistachio growers, with many growers opting to replant their entire acreage. Recently, our research group has isolated the same bacterium from walnuts in California.  Although Rhodococcus fascians causes disease on pistachio, its impact on walnut growth and development is unknown.  

The goal of this project is to determine whether there is an association between Rhodococcus fascians and abnormal growth patterns on walnut. To address this goal, the student will sample symptomatic and asymptomatic walnuts in the same orchard and isolate the bacterium from plant tissue samples in the laboratory.  The student will be expected to isolate the Rhodococcus bacterium into pure culture; cultures will then be sent to a collaborating laboratory for molecular (DNA) identification. 

The anticipated outcome is the determination of whether this bacterium may serve as either a non-pathogenic inhabitant of walnut or as a disease causing agent.  The student will participate in and observe other ongoing studies addressing whether walnut may serve as a source of inoculum for disease on pistachio, and vice versa.

StatusOpen
TimelineMay 26-4-6 weeks of hands on work variable days and times, + development of the poster
Application Deadline4/19/2015
 
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Project TitleDevelopment of a Mathematic App (mobile phone or web application)
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorJohn Redden - Mathematics and Computer Science Faculty
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students3 maximum
Required Courses & SkillsCompletion of pre-calculus course, some HTML and computer science skills, ability to find and make use of online documentation and tutorials; preferred qualifications include completion of CSCI 001, desire to build a useful app, and open source tools
Abstract

Design and build a useful single page web application (SPA) or Android application that solves some mathematical problem using freely available open source solutions. The software development will consist of one of the following two options:


1.    Web application using HTML5, AngularJS, and Bootstrap CSS.
or

2.    Android application using the Android Studio IDE.

The project will attempt to emulate the full software development experience from idea generation, design considerations, reading documentation, implementation and testing, to publishing using a unique domain name and/or the google play store. Students will be encouraged to produce an open and free resource that is available to a user base that extends beyond COS.

StatusOpen
TimelineVariable days and times depending on faculty lead schedule
Application Deadline4/30/2015
 
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Project TitleEcological Restoration Design and Student Mentoring for Eleanor Roosevelt Community Learning Center
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorBobby Kamansky
MajorsBiology, Chemistry, Plant Science, particularly with interest in agriculture, Agricultural Science, Soil Science
Number of Students1-3
Required Courses & SkillsMust have completed a college biology course with a grade of C or better.
Abstract

Investigators will utilize the restoration vision for the 7-acre ERCLC campus and its 5-7 restoration zones developed by students, staff and Kamansky’s Ecological Consulting to design and begin implementing a restoration program on the Campus. The program will utilize ERCLC students, mentored in direct field work and planning by COS students, ERCLC staff and professionals to develop planning and implementation project-based learning experiences. The program will yield a deeper appreciation for the local ecology, plant, animal and human interactions and foster an appreciation and conservation of the local environment.

 

StatusOpen
Timeline
Application Deadline
 
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Project TitleInternship in Plant Pathology/USDA, ARS
College/Industry CollaborationUSDA, ARS
Mentor/AdvisorDr. Wallis
MajorsBiology, Chemistry, Plant Science, particularly with interest in agriculture, Agricultural Science, Soil Science
Number of Students1
Required Courses & SkillsMust be computer literate with knowledge of Microsoft Office required. Students should have taken at least one introductory course in both biology and chemistry, with additional advanced courses in any field of science preferred as well. 
Abstract

Come and learn aspects of how grapevines protect themselves from pathogens and insects by analyzing grapevine-produced compounds that have been predominately studied for human health benefits. You will be working with a lead scientist (Ph.D. in Plant Pathology), his technician, and lab assistants (undergraduates). In the laboratory you will receive/review basic training in botany, plant pathology, entomology and biochemistry, and you will be able to learn aspects of gas and liquid chromatography.  You will participate in microorganism culturing and insect rearing for lab and greenhouse bioassays. You will have the opportunity to visit other laboratories and meet other researchers to further learn about different career options in agricultural sciences. The work location is just outside Parlier, CA, about a half hour from Fresno or Visalia.​

StatusOpen
TimelineJune 1 thru August 7th, 10wk 40hr/wk
Application Deadline4/19/2015
 
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Project TitleSelective Oxidation of Various Alcohols: Retinol to Retinoic Acid
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorLarry Callan - College of the Sequoias Chemistry Faculty
MajorsBiology, Chemistry
Number of Students3 maximum
Required Courses & Skillssuccessful completion of Chem 12 (Organic Chemistry) with a C or better
Abstract

This is a laboratory study of selective oxidation of various alcohols, with the ultimate goal of conversion of retinol to retinoic acid. The primary issue is selective oxidation of one functional group in the presence of others that must be unaffected.  Students will be conducting experiments in the laboratory and doing an extensive literature review.​

StatusFull/Closed
Timeline
Application Deadline
 
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Project TitleSURGE Botanical Survey of SCICON Project
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorDr. Robert Urtecho - PhD Plant Biology
MajorsBiology, Chemistry, Plant Science, particularly with interest in agriculture, Agricultural Science, Soil Science
Number of Students4-6
Required Courses & SkillsStudents should have an interest in agricultural science, microbiology, plant pathology, or related field.
Abstract

SCICON (Outdoor School of Science and Conservation operated by Tulare County Office of Education (TCOE)) is located in the foothills east of the city of Porterville.  The large property contains thousands of acres of undeveloped native habitat. Like most of Tulare County, this area is poorly known botanically and has not had a comprehensive survey of plant species.  Our project proposes to make monthly visits to the SCICON facility to collect the plants that are in flower or in fruit for purposes of establishing a botanical record.  Students will collect specimens, record habitat and phenological data, and note unique ecological conditions.  Data will be tabulated for ease of study and herbarium specimens will be sent to UC Davis, COS and TCOE.  A map of plant communities and associations will be created for the entire property based on student observations and species collections.

StatusOpen
TimelineVariable days and times depending on faculty lead schedule
Application Deadline4/30/2015
 
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Project TitleSynthesis of Liquid Crystalline Semiconducting Molecules
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorMike Springer, PhD Chemistry, Chemistry Faculty
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students3 maximum
Required Courses & SkillsSuccessful completion of Chemistry 1 (General Chemistry) with a C or better.
Abstract

Liquid crystal phases offer a route to achieve a high degree of molecular order in thin-films for electronic applications. Liquid crystal phases can be achieved by synthesizing molecules with a rigid, aromatic core flanked by long, alkyl chains. This project will involve synthesizing novel organic molecules that will exhibit liquid crystal phases. 

 

Novel organic molecules will be synthesized in a laboratory setting using the methods and techniques of organic chemistry.  Students will assist in developing a synthetic pathway toward the product molecules and carry out the chemical reactions.  Intermediates will be purified by column chromatography and recrystallization.  Thin layer chromatography (TLC), infrared spectroscopy (IR), and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) will be used to confirm the structure of the new molecules. 

 

The final products will only require 3-4 synthetic steps from starting material, easily performed by supervised undergraduates.  Successful completion of this project could lead to publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, like “Liquid Crystals”.

 

StatusFull/Closed
Timeline
Application Deadline
 
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Project TitleThe Floral Biology and potential Breeding System of Croton setigerus (Euphorbiaceae) in Central California
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorDr. Robert Urtecho, - Phd in Biology - Dean of Science, Mathematics and Engineering
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students3-4 maximum research group size
Required Courses & SkillsConcurrent enrollment of Bio 1 (General Biology) or completion of Bio 1
Abstract

An analysis of the reproductive structures and pollen ovule ratios to determine the pollination syndrome that is most consistent with the morphological characteristics observed.

StatusFull/Closed
Timeline
Application Deadline
 
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Project TitleUSDA Civil Engineering Internship
College/Industry CollaborationNCRS
Mentor/AdvisorNCRS Engineers
MajorsEngineering, Agricultural Science, Soil Science
Number of Students2
Required Courses & SkillsSophomore status with minimum gpa of 2.7
Abstract

Description:

The project involves agricultural irrigation system evaluation and performance on installed micro-irrigation practices cost-shared by the USDA NRCS.  NRCS will be evaluating and comparing system performance on systems that were recently installed vs. systems installed 3- 5 years ago.  

 

Typical duties of a Civil Engineer, Agricultural Science, or Soil Science Intern:

-          Learn NRCS irrigation water management (IWM) principles and practices

-          Learn how to design an irrigation system for orchard systems

-          Creating maps with ESRI ArcGIS desktop

-          Using NRCS Web Soil Survey for desktop analysis

-          Gain basic understanding of irrigation systems & scheduling

-          Writing design reports for projects

-          Preparing sketches and photographs needed for performing the design

-          Performing post-construction irrigation system evaluations for projects. Helps Engineer determine system performance after installation

-          Collects field data and assures adequacy of collected data. Processes and plots data

Note: There will be OJT (On Job Training) for all software programs and field assessment tools not known to selected applicant.

 

Working conditions: Outdoors in a typical agricultural field setting.  

-          10% in the office working with NRCS Engineer and Civil Engineering Technician. Students will be based out of COS

-          90% in the field:  This includes working in orchards collecting flow measurements of irrigation water, walking orchard looking at emitter size and placement, etc.

-          May operate motor vehicles. Must possess and maintain a valid state motor vehicle operator’s license    ​

StatusOpen
Timeline2-3 days per week split between office and field work throughout the summer
Application Deadline4/19/2015
 
*The COS Student Undergraduate Research Group Experience (SURGE) program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
Last Updated: 4/14/2015 8:12 AM