Over 200 Cal Poly Pomona students from five programs are recognized in the first ever PolyX Showcase Magazine.
Presented by the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) and Learn Through Discovery Initiative (LTD), this digital magazine celebrates students who have successfully completed Signature Polytechnic Experiences, called PolyX for short. Students involved in PolyX are learning by doing through implementing solutions to real world needs, almost always involving research.
The students recognized in the PolyX Showcase have been traditionally celebrated through the Annual Scholar Recognition event each Spring. The new format reflects the new learning environment Cal Poly Pomona and other institutions are adapting to during the pandemic.
Dr. Winny Dong, Faculty Director of the OUR and LTD, says the programs were happy to be able to continue to support and recognize students this year.
“I am proud of the accomplishments of our students,” Dong says. “They continue to push forward with their research, figuring out ways to advance knowledge, even during the quarantine.”
This content of the digital magazine highlights students in the LTD Projects Hatchery, the Achieve Scholars Program (ASP), and Early Career Research Apprenticeship (ECRA), which are programs that engage students in diverse research projects and communities through faculty mentor support. The magazine showcases standout students in each program and recognizes the 2019-2020 participants.
In addition, the magazine highlights those receiving the Student Research Distinction, a recognition for students who have completed research, scholarship, or creative activities with a mentor, presented at an academic or professional conference, and published those findings in Bronco Scholar or a peer-reviewed publication. So far, over 90 Cal Poly Pomona students have been recognized with the Research Distinction since 2016.
Olukemi Sawyerr, Interim Associate Vice President for Academic Innovation, has interacted with many of the students recognized in the PolyX Showcase magazine.
“I am inspired and impressed by the passion Cal Poly Pomona students bring to their projects and the positive impact they have achieved,” Sawyerr says.
The PolyX Showcase also celebrates the Faculty Mentor Research Stars (STARS). These exceptional faculty members are awarded on a tier system (1-5) based on the number of students they have mentored who have received the Student Research Distinction. Cal Poly Pomona has over 55 faculty who meet these requirements so far, representing all colleges. The magazine highlights three STARS Mentors; Dr. Mario Guerrero (Political Science), Dr. Olive Li (Nutrition & Food Science), and Dr. Keith Forward (Chemical & Materials Engineering). The PolyX Showcase also showcases the 2020 STARS Tier awardees.
Ashish Hingle, student (Master of Science in Business Administration), was an editor for the PolyX Showcase and coordinated efforts to create the magazine.
“I am extremely proud of the caliber of PolyX our students and faculty are involved in. It wasn’t a question of if we should recognize them, but rather how we should do so in a time of uncertainty.” Hingle adds, “I am delighted that we were able to innovate this event and give our community the appreciation it deserves.”
The OUR also hosted its second annual Celebration of Research Week this April, with the PolyX Showcase as its main feature. The event traditionally celebrates the creativity, discovery, and innovation of CPP students through research events held across campus. This year, it was reimagined in a digital format, with a focus on highlighting student voices and achievements on the OUR social media accounts through profiles, podcasts, photos, and of course, features from the PolyX Showcase magazine. In addition, many of those college events transitioned to virtual means, giving their students’ research a chance to shine in a recorded video presentation or live over Zoom.
Similarly, the 34th Annual CSU Student Research Competition also went digital. This annual event that brings together campus delegates from all 23 of the CSU campuses and showcases undergraduate and graduate scholarly research and creative activity across all disciplines. At Cal Poly Pomona, the selection of “student delegates” takes place during the annual Student Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activities (RSCA) Conference. This year, 28 students on 10 teams were chosen to represent Cal Poly Pomona.
Elisa Mitchell, Associate for the OUR, has been working with the CPP student delegates since early March to help prepare them for the competition. She attended the virtual competition at CSU East Bay on April 24 to support the teams.
“It is wonderful to see how much their confidence in themselves and their abilities grew over the past two months,” Mitchell said. “Regardless of the final results of the competition, these students are better prepared to discuss their research in an academic setting and with a broader audience outside of Cal Poly Pomona. This can help them in any career path they decide to pursue in the future.”
Past CSU competition results are listed in the PolyX Showcase magazine, alongside profiles of past student representatives. Moreover, the CSU competition is one of the highlights of the Celebration of Research Week. This year, posts were shared across social media—from the OUR, different CPP colleges, and even the CSU Chancellor Office accounts, each wishing students researchers the best of luck in the competition.
The final results of the competition are posted online. For Cal Poly Pomona, Lorena Bennett (Civil Engineering) won second in the Category Engineering and Computer Science for her project titled: “Solids Analysis of a UASB-HRAP System in Brazil.” Her mentors were Dr. Monica Palomo, Civil Engineering Department, with a collaboration with CSU San Diego faculty member, Dr. Matthew Verbyla.
For more information about the CSU Student Research Competition, the Celebration of Research Week, the PolyX Showcase magazine, or how you can get involved in any of these programs or events, visit the OUR website.