From discussions about the gender pay gap to a study on TikTok shopping users, a vast range of topics were presented by students at the 11th Annual Cal Poly Pomona Student Research, Scholarship & Creative Activities (RSCA) Conference. The conference was hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR), and it was the first time in three years, since before the COVID-19 pandemic, that the event was fully held in person.
Over 700 attendees—which included presenters, judges, moderators, family, and friends—attended RSCA on March 4. There was a thrill throughout the day as students anticipated their moment to shine. To capture the feeling, a representative from the OUR visited and asked presenters: what inspired them to choose their topic?
“As Fashion merchandising students, we care about sustainability,” said Samantha Castro, whose team members included Angel Martinez and Vanessa Perez. Under the mentorship of Associate Professor Seoha Min from the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Management, the team’s project focused on sustainable shoe packaging. They conducted qualitative research to discover Generation Z’s preferences on “sustainable packaging materials for shoebox designs” to create a shoebox that catered to their wants in terms of aesthetics and sustainability.
Arya Joshi, a mechanical engineering student, was interested in renewable energy. He wanted to see it become a more widespread resource in the face of climate change. Thus, he pursued creating a cost-effective method to aid the planet.
“My project focuses on generating electricity from ocean waves through a prototype design,” Joshi shared. “I worked on creating customized turbines that spin regardless of airflow. [This] helps with the efficiency of power generation and stimulation studies for optimizations of the prototype.”
Other students with projects included: Sydney Albertson, a psychology major, who investigated rape supportive culture and perpetration in fraternity membership; Emily Han from the Kellogg Honors College who studied the “relationship between personality traits and technology usage” by looking at the shopping trends of TikTok users, and Brenda Flores, a political science major, whose project is titled “Resident Perception of Neighborhood Change in Los Angeles.”
Passion from every RSCA presenter was reflected in their work. Where presenters felt inspiration that brought them to the conference, their family and friends were inspired by them.
“We are so proud to watch my wife and [the kids’] mom present about a topic she is so passionate about. It means everything to us to watch her succeed,” said the husband of participant, Dinah Ramirez. “She is truly an inspiration to us all.”
Ramirez is a sociology major from the Kellogg Honors College and her research project touched on the gender pay gap, focusing on the experiences of women faculty members.
The mother of aerospace engineering student Federicco Parres said, “He has wanted to be an engineer since he was three years old because of his grandfather. Research helped him immensely with his transition into graduate school.”