Four Students Share Their Work, Represent the University at the State Level
June 07, 2023

Students Heather Collins, Cristian Silva-Toro, Jordan Prather and Kyle Leethe proudly represented Stanislaus State and gained invaluable experience at this year’s California State University (CSU) Student Research Competition. 

“I was honored to present my work in San Diego,” Collins said. “I never expected to be selected to represent our school at the state level. It was an honor to share my research with peers and faculty across the state.” 

Each year, students gather at this event to compete in a test of focus and creativity. The goal is to find a unique idea within their major, construct a well-defined abstract and succinctly relay the information to the audience and judges. 

This year’s event had a total of 250 presenters with more than 200 presentations from across the 23 campuses in the CSU.  

“It’s always a rewarding experience to watch our students share their research, and especially so at an event like this,” said Office of Research & Sponsored Programs (OSRP) Director Joyce Bell. “It’s inspiring to watch our students deliver their presentations at such a large event, and to see them so confident and prepared. Our Stan State students did a wonderful job with their presentations this year.” 

“I was honored to present my work in San Diego. I never expected to be selected to represent our school at the state level. It was an honor to share my research with peers and faculty across the state.” 

Heather Collins, Student 

The competition provides students with opportunities to practice their communications skills, further explore their majors and determine the next steps toward growth in their research and careers. Many students find a launching point by presenting at the state level. 

“This has really helped me define myself as an applied anthropologist and it has given me responsibility to use my professional toolkit to help historically disadvantaged communities,” Collins said. “It has become more than a research project for me, this competition helped me define what I want to do with my career.”  

Collins presented in the social sciences segment of the competition. Her project focused on the collaboration between geologists and anthropologists, when learning about the correlation between Indigenous people and their communities. 

“My work focuses on a small subfield known as ethnogeology, which looks at the cultural explanations of geological events and features within native communities,” Collins said. “My work argues that interdisciplinary collaboration is needed between geology and anthropology in future studies. Interdisciplinary models are the future of many of our fields.” 

Silva-Toro also walked away from the competition with a newfound passion for his major and future career. He presented in the social sciences section as well, with his analysis of the Central Valley’s approach to fighting drug addiction. 

“Eventually, I’d like to work in public health,” Silva-Toro said. “I come from an underserved community, where addiction, homelessness and injustice are rampant. My project analyzes the consequences of prioritizing criminal justice efforts on the issue of addiction. I saw this as an everyday part of life, until I came to Stan State, where I learned more about our society’s structure.”