Annual Event Demonstrates University’s Continued Growth Across Disciplines
April 23, 2024
Student reads a presentation poster at the RSCA event.

The growth in Stanislaus State’s footprint in the world of academia was evident when students, faculty and staff gathered on April 17 in the J. Burton Vasché Library to celebrate a year of achievement during the Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (RSCA) Celebration. 

The numbers tell the story: 119 peer-reviewed publications in 2023 compared to 102 in 2022; 101 conference presentations compared to 47 the previous year and grant funding of $12.8 million compared to $10.3 million in 2022. 

Though the numbers are significant, their real value is the impact the work has on faculty and students alike. 

A year ago, there were 12 student posters. On Wednesday there were 30. Some were by McNair Scholars, who are headed to post-graduate programs. One was by first-year history major Joshua Gonzalez, who saw the invitation to enter a poster and created one titled, “Ten Reasons to Learn History.” 

Posters are more than visually pleasing representations of massive amounts of work and scholarship. 

Faculty Engagement Awards winner, Greg Morris, a professor of criminal justice, shared how he assigns poster making to both his graduate and undergraduate students. The project, he said, helps focus their thoughts and the result is better written papers with clearer, linear thoughts. 

Also awarded Faculty and Staff Engagement Awards were Gina Donahue, the Master of Business Administration director of graduate programs, who guides countless students toward their advanced degree, and Kelly Cotter, an associate professor of psychology who has worked with Stan State’s Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholars program recipients. 

“Celebrations such as these...are just as important as teaching. The knowledge created, the experiences created and how students are involved in activities is a very vital part of what we do.” 

- Rich Ogle, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs  

Last week’s RSCA program, organized by Dean of Graduate Studies Haley Ye, Dean of Library Services Ron Rodriguez and RSCA staff Joyce Bell, Ashley Reeves Huckaby, Michelle Allen, Kaitlyn Day, Belén Lopez and Jose R. Diaz-Garayua, featured 16 faculty presentations. A year ago, there were 10.  

They represented fascinating snippets of the work accomplished, from Assistant Professor of Macroeconomics Sourik Banerjee’s study that points to a need for more diverse financial planners, because people feel more comfortable with a professional of their demographic, to Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Tricia Van Laar’s investigation, “Microbiome and Immune Response Dynamics During Avian Malaria Infection in Migratory Birds.” 

The program ended on an uplifting note, literally and figuratively, with Associate Professor of Music Sarah Chan’s recorded piano performance of Chopin’s Etude in G sharp Minor, Op. 25, No. 6. 

For Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Rich Ogle, the RSCA Celebration, was the culmination of an eventful week that saw him in Washington, D.C. advocating for Stan State during Hill Week and meeting admitted transfer and first-year students during Warrior Welcome. 

“There is little more fulfilling than talking to folks about the power of what we do, who we are and what our mission is,” Ogle said. “What I don’t want to be lost in celebrations such as these is that research, scholarship and creative activity are just as important as teaching in executing that mission. The knowledge created, the experiences created and how students are involved in activities is a very vital part of what we do.  

“I had the pleasure of talking to members of Congress, people in the Department of Energy, the departments of Defense and Health and Human Services about what we do and how it’s worthy of support because of the way it transforms the lives of our students and changes who we are and what we do as a society. 

“Academia is the institution that for well over 1,000 years has kept humanity in the light, not just through teaching, but through research, scholarship and creative activity. We will continue to do that.” 

Two women discuss a research poster at the Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Celebration at Stanislaus State.