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Yutzil Zavala, a Cal State San Marcos Summer Scholar and biotechnology major, examines growth of algal cultures to be harvested for lipid extraction in the Read Lab. Courtesy photo.
Yutzil Zavala, a Cal State San Marcos Summer Scholar and biotechnology major, examines growth of algal cultures to be harvested for lipid extraction in the Read Lab. Courtesy photo.
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CSUSM’s summer scholars showcase research work

SAN MARCOS — California State University San Marcos’ College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics invited 88 students to conduct research in the Summer Scholars Program.


The 10-week program will conclude with the Summer Scholars Poster Showcase, held on Friday, Aug. 11 from 9 a.m. to noon in the University Student Union Ballroom on campus.


Summer Scholars students who are actively pursuing undergraduate degrees at the university as well as Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) students, some of whom are completing their undergraduate degrees outside of CSUSM, will present their research during the showcase. These students were selected and funded to conduct research for the summer on campus.


The Summer Scholars and REU programs allow the students to gain hands-on research experience, learn from faculty mentors, attend industry tours, network with industry professionals and present their research projects at the poster showcase. Presentations will include students’ research methods, results of findings and interpretations of the project holistically.


“By allowing me opportunities to network with my peers and experience the benefits of performing research with such a prestigious summer research program, I now feel prepared to continue in my academic pursuits and biological research with the Becket Lab at CSUSM,” said Amberinna Dolan, who is completing the Summer Scholars program as an undergraduate student and plans to begin a graduate program on campus this fall.


“My research experience under my principal investigator, (CSUSM biology professor) Dr. Elinne Becket, will allow me to blossom as a graduate researcher and challenge me to continue biological research in order to produce results and data that can help drive therapeutic advancements for humans,” Dolan continued.


Students in the program are interested in pursuing a STEM career post-graduation. More than 40% of Summer Scholars alumni go on to earn advanced degrees and 99% remain in STEM fields after graduating.


The university considers these figures impactful as the program is geared to support the educational quality of students from underrepresented groups including veterans and first-generation students.


Most of the scholars are either juniors or seniors, and they are assigned to a faculty and graduate student mentor who support and aid them in their research. 


“The Summer Scholars program has shown me the importance of showing up for my mentees in multiple ways – not just in the literal and immediate professional sense, but also by providing supportive resources and environments” said Poorvi Datta, a graduate mentor who oversees four Summer Scholars.


“I love my mentees,” Datta continued. “They are all kind and hardworking students, as well as talented at each of their disciplines. It was a pleasure to work with them and see them grow.”


Starting with just 10 students, the Summer Scholars program has grown over the last decade, and program leaders hope they can continue increasing the number of students admitted next year.


Sponsors of the 2023 program include Encodia, Genentech, Hologic, Jayson and Shilow Sack, Lawrence E. & Neva B. Fenstermaker Foundation, Eli Lilly, San Diego Foundation and Thermo Fisher Scientific.


The Summer Scholars Poster Showcase is free and open to the public. Free event parking is available on Level 6 of Parking Structure 1 on a first-come, first-served basis.

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