Multiple SST Graduate Students Take Home Research Awards

June 15, 2021
portrait of Julianne Bradbury on a patterned blue background

​Originally posted on SSU News on May 17, 2021

By Nate Galvan |

Graduate research is hard enough, but imagine condensing it into an engaging presentation for a panel of judges — in no more than three minutes. That was the premise for the inaugural California State University Grad Slam competition hosted by San Jose State University on May 6. 

Sonoma State University is pleased to share that biology graduate student Julianne Bradbury placed first for her presentation on the impact of fire on amphibian and reptile populations in California’s wildlands in a competition with students representing schools across the CSU. The research is vital because it provides valuable information in helping to direct the timing and use of controlled burns, which directly relates to reducing fuel loads that can lead to wildfires. 

“Julianne Bradbury's win at the first CSU Grad Slam event demonstrates that graduate research at Sonoma State is thriving,” said interim Provost Karen Moranski. “We provide a first-class graduate education that rivals institutions much larger and offers faculty-student research mentorship that is second to none. We are rightfully proud of our graduate programs at Sonoma State.”    

Sonoma State University biology graduate students have become no stranger to taking home awards for their research. At the 35th annual CSU Research Competition, held at the end of April to showcase students’ innovative research and creative activities, two SSU graduate students won first place awards in their respective categories. The competition’s jury awarded Allie Northey top honors for her research on adrenal response in northern elephant seals and Maddy Sanchez for her presentation on salt marsh habitats of southern sea otters.   

Marine research is a passion of SSU students Kiona Parker and Barbie Halaska. The CSU Council on Ocean Affairs, Science and Technology awarded each the Graduate Student Research Award for Parker’s work looking at digestive functions of copper rockfish and Halaska’s research of blubber in North Pacific gray whales. Halaska, who will use her $3,000 award to examine whale blubber and its relation to their nutritional status, currently works at the Marin Marine Mammal Center and interacts with grey whales passing the facility. 

Back on land, Paris Krause, an SSU student studying Biology, recently received the prestigious California Botanical Society's Graduate Research Award for her work that won her the 2020 SSU Science Symposium competition. The $1,500 award will further her research using terrestrial laser scanning to determine the above-ground biomass of California tree species.

For more information about the groundbreaking work from our Department of Biology, visit