Sanjana Rajagopal | The Poly Post

Student Researchers take on CPP Student RSCA Conference

By Sanjana Rajagopal and Yerehny B. Limon, March 21, 2023

Student researchers showcased their research projects at the 11th annual Cal Poly Pomona Student Research, Scholarship and Creative Activities Conference March 4.

The Student RSCA Conference provides the opportunity for CPP’s undergraduate and graduate students from all departments to participate in a research topic based on a plethora of subjects  related to scholarly and creative activities with the help of a faculty member. It also allows students who participated to have the opportunity to be selected to represent the school at the annual California State University Systemwide Student Research Competition.

Laila Quezada, a mechanical engineering student, did her project on climate modeling. She believes the whole process allows for new opportunities to arise from the work she is doing.

“Climate modeling is such an underrepresented field,” said Quezada. “There are only about, I want to say, 2,000 people, one of the other researchers that worked with my faculty mentor said. It definitely opens the door for me and is very related to my major.”

Quezada chose to do her project specifically on Ecuador, which her faculty member Pablo Benalcazar, who is a CPP alum, pitched to her since he’s from there.

“Although I am not of Ecuadorian descent, I am Cuban and Mexican, and it is still in Latin America and the topic affects people who are a part of my community, so I am really happy to be a part of this project,” said Quezada.

The RSCA Conference is an annual event, but takes almost a year prior to plan, with applications to participate due in early February. This gives students around a month to create their presentations and compile their research.

Sanjana Rajagopal | The Poly Post

Winny Dong, the faculty director of projects and research who uses they/them pronouns believes getting the event together takes a big team.

“It took us almost a year to plan this by reserving the space, and what the application needed to include and sorting through applications and food,” Dong said.

Dong also explains the significance of the event taking place during the same time every year.

“The reason why we always do the first Saturday of March is because it is the last possible day for students who participate to be considered for the CSU research competition held at the end of April,” Dong said. “Students for the competition are selected in the middle of March and only 10 are selected to represent CPP.”

While the competitive aspect of the RSCA Conference is a reason to participate, most students are also collecting research as another asset to add to their resume and open up new doors.

Students like Quezada and multiple other participants were a part of the Student Success and Transfer Articulation through Research and Support Services, which allows undergraduates to begin their research throughout their time as students at CPP.

Through this program, students such as Kelechi Mbaruguru, a chemistry major with an emphasis in biochemistry, who did her presentation on organic synthesis, were required to participate in the conference and collect research.

While there are students like Angelina Mason, a communication and gender, ethnicity and multicultural studies student, who participated to be able to lay the groundwork for her future works. Dedicating her research to the misuse of African American Vernacular English, also known as AAVE, on social media platforms such as Twitter and TikTok.

Through content analysis, Mason was able to showcase all of the times a user misused AAVE in a post. The RSCA Conference allows students like her to practice presenting in front of a crowd and gives her research topic the exposure it deserves.

Dong expressed how proud she was to all of the students who participated in the RSCA Conference.

“We are proud to allow students to showcase what they’ve done and celebrate that,” said Dong.

Many attendees were proud to see their student, child or friend present what they spent months on. Mbaruguru’s mother, Adaoha Mbaruguru, was able to express how proud she was of not only her daughter but of all of the students that participated in the event.

If students are interested in participating in CPP’s Student RSCA Conference next year, applications start at the end of the fall semester. An abstract of the research topic must be prepared and approved by a faculty member.

To apply for the next RSCA visit the Cal Poly Pomona Student Research Conference website for more information.

Feature image by Sanjana Rajagopal

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