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PROUD Newsletter

2018 PROUD Nominees

The CSU- LSAMP Program for Recognition of Undergraduate Distinction (CSU-LSAMP PROUD) is a new program designed to recognize and highlight the achievements of our outstanding CSU-LSAMP students. Each year, the LSAMP Statewide Office requests that campuses select up to four students based upon their achievements such as outstanding academic performance, research accomplishments, service, leadership, or personal triumph. These PROUD Scholars will be featured in an annual CSU-LSAMP publication that will be made available on the CSU-LSAMP Statewide website. All students featured in the publication will receive a certificate acknowledging their distinction. Below are the 2018 PROUD Nominees from CSUF! We congratulate all of their success!

Monika Tadrous

Monika Tadrous stands infront of lab equipment.Monika is a senior majoring in mechanical engineering. She grew up in Cairo, Egypt and came to the USA six years ago. She is a member of Tau Beta Pi engineering honors society and conducts biophysics research with Dr. Wylie Ahmed in the Laboratory of Soft, Living, and Active Matter “SLAM Lab”. Monika’s project involves developing low cost microfluidic devices and use the devices for multiple applications. The applications are studying the negative pressure in plants, active colloids, and microorganisms. She is passionate about biomedical engineering where she can work on projects that link engineering, biology, and physics. Monika’s project finalized the procedure to create microfluidic devices and developed a syringe pump to control the fluids flow in devices. Monika is also developing a new microfluidic device design to study negative pressure. She was selected as a finalist in the undergraduate research competition at the Society of Women Engineers (SWE17) conference. Monika was awarded a position for the 12-week LSAMP iREU in France this past summer. She has presented her work in three separate conferences and won a poster competition award at the SWE17 conference. Monika has also submitted an abstract and been accepted to present at the American Physical Society Conference in March, which is the field’s premier international conference. After completing her bachelor’s, she will pursue graduate studies in biomedical engineering, where she will combine her expertise in engineering and biophysics to develop technologies to treat neurodegenerative diseases.


Luis Garay working in lab.

Luis Garay

Luis is a senior biochemistry major currently participating in research with Dr. Allyson Fry-Petit’s solid-state inorganic chemistry lab for the past three years. His project involves analyzing potential non-cooperative octahedral tilting perovskites. This research is of importance to Luis because he has a keen interest, dedication, and passion for finding the threshold between perovskites that are described as cooperative versus those that are non-cooperative. Luis has blossomed into an amazing researcher. Not only has he taken the lead on his projects, and has several independent projects, he has also become a mentor and overall group leader. He has also presented his work several times. When he joined the lab, he had his eyes set on a publication for which he has worked relentlessly, and that dream should be becoming a reality within the next year. His career goals include obtaining a PhD in a field that studies the application of material chemistry or nanotechnology in medicine. Luis hopes to apply to graduate school for the 2019 academic year.


Catherine Taylor sitting in her laboratory.

Catherine Taylor

Catherine graduated in May 2018 with a BS in biochemistry. She worked in research with Dr. Peter de Lijser’s organic chemistry lab for over two years. Catherine’s research project involved using photochemistry to induce oxidative cyclization to create novel heteroaromatic ring structures. She studied the mechanisms of these reactions because they proceed through reactive intermediates. These reactive intermediates can cause damage to DNA and proteins in the body. She worked on isolating the cyclic products and characterizing them. Catherine has proven to be an outstanding researcher, leader and role model for other students in the lab. In addition to her work in the lab, Catherine was also very busy with her coursework, her role as an SI leader, and with her applications to graduate school. She was accepted into many outstanding PhD programs, including UCI, UCLA, UCSD and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Although Catherine had a full schedule, she continued to strive for the best academic performance possible and had one of the highest GPAs in the program. Catherine’s career goals are to obtain her PhD in organic chemistry and to continue research in the field of chemistry. Catherine began her PhD at UCI in fall 2018.


Wesley Whiting giving a lecture

Wesley Whiting

Wesley (Wes) came to CSUF two years ago and during these two years he has taken the meaning of “outstanding student” to a new high. He conducted research with Dr. Zair Ibragimov on Cassinian metrics in the geometry of hyperbolic-type metric spaces. He published two high quality papers and has a third paper on averaging one-point hyperbolic-type metrics recently accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society. Wes has presented over 15 talks at various venues, including an international conference. He is the first student tutor who qualified to tutor upper level math. Wes participated in the International Summer Research Experience in Uzbekistan. He organized and ran the first Student Analysis Seminar at CSUF, and was the only student awarded the Mathematics department’s Benson Scholarship in 2017. In 2018, he was awarded the most prestigious departmental award, Stiel Prize. Wes will be entering the PhD program in mathematics at UCI this fall, where he was accepted with a full scholarship and hopes to do more research in his interest areas of analysis and probability theory.