Latest Achievements

Updates about the latest publications and other achievements by our faculty, staff and students

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Week of: Apr 23, 2017

Student Yaad Rana, Josh Martinez, Toni Castillo, Karen Duarte, Peter Duin, Fernando Flores, Tanya Garcia, Jacob Hurd, Jackson Ingram, Amanda ‘the Destroyer’ Lagasca, Tony Mitchell III, David Rivera, Raymond Rios, Kelly Rodman, and Eunice Romero, Environmental Resources Engineering

Humboldt State University’s Environmental Resources Engineering students retain their trophy for the American Society of Civil Engineers Mid-Pacific Water Treatment Competition (MidPac), for the second year in a row, and fourth time overall, leading HSU to have the most wins in this competition. In addition, HSU took Second Place Overall in MidPac, even though the environmental engineering students did not complete in the Concrete Canoe, Steel Bridge or Geowall competitions! Tongji University (Shanghai, China) was awarded first place overall due to their first place finishes in the other competitions that HSU did not compete in. The HSU team formed a great sense of camaraderie with the Tongji team, as they supported and cheered each other on throughout the three day conference.

MidPac was hosted by Chico State this year, and was attended by most of the UCs and CSUs in California, along with other international competitors. The competition was extremely close this year, with the ERE’s toughest competitors being Tongji (China), Laval (Canada), University of the Pacific, UC Berkeley and UC Davis.

Midpac consists of four main competitions: Concrete Canoe, Water Treatment, Geowall, and Steel Bridge. There are also three report competitions: Transportation, Ethics, and Water Research, each offering a cash prize. Each competition victory earns the winning school conference points, which are summed at the end and used to declare overall Mid-Pac winners.

HSU has historically competed only in the wastewater treatment competition. This year, HSU also competed in the water research paper category and mini-games. For water treatment competition, the team dedicated an enormous amount of effort into each of the scored categories to earn First Place in Water Treatment:
Construction (Second Place)
Poster Presentation (Tie for First Place)
Powerpoint Presentation (First Place)
Design Report (First Place)
Water Quality (First place).

For the Water Research Report competition, ERE student Peter Duin received a unanimous first place finish in both design report and oral presentation. HSU also won the Scavenger Hunt.

ERE students Yaad Rana and Josh Martinez co-chaired the preparation for Mid-Pac. Other participants were Toni Castillo, Karen Duarte, Peter Duin, Fernando Flores, Tanya Garcia, Jacob Hurd, Jackson Ingram, Amanda ‘the Destroyer’ Lagasca, Tony Mitchell III, David Rivera, Raymond Rios, Kelly Rodman, and Eunice Romero. The students are especially grateful the guidance and feedback from Professors Brad Finney and Margaret Lang.

Student Madison Whaley, Bailey Bergstrom, and Lonny Grafman, Office of Sustainability

The Office of Sustainability recently announced the winners of the inaugural Sustainability Champion Awards. The award recognizes individuals on campus whose practices have deepened a culture of sustainability, have furthered the integration of sustainability into academics or student life, and/or reduced HSU’s environmental footprint.

This year’s winners are: Madison Whaley (student category); Bailey Bergstrom (staff category; she is also a student), and Lonny Grafman (faculty category).

Each winner received a $250 gift card and an award made by The Sanctuary ( from reclaimed materials at an awards ceremony during the April 20 Earth Week Keynote Banquet held in the Great Hall.

The call for nominations was announced in early April. The award was open to students, staff and faculty who have worked to advance sustainability. Any student was eligible; however, those faculty and staff members with sustainability in their job title or as an obligatory aspect of their job were not eligible for the award.

The Call for Nominations for the 2018 Sustainability Champion Awards will go out in March 2018.

Student Brent Henry, Andrew Mueller, Kaelie Pena, and Mariah Aguilar, Forestry & Wildland Resources

The Forestry and Wildland Resources Department celebrated its students during the annual Awards Banquet on April 18. This year, the department awarded over $68,000 in scholarships to 56 deserving students. Many scholarships were established by alumnae or in honor of alumnae; the Forestry Pathfinders scholarship was created by the founding forestry class at Humboldt State; and the Gayleen Smith scholarship was created in honor of the “office mom” for the department from 2005 through 2013.

The department also honored outstanding students: Brent Henry (Academic Excellence award in Forestry), Andrew Mueller (Professional Promise award in Forestry), Kaelie Pena (Rangeland Resource Outstanding Student), and Mariah Aguilar (Rangeland Resource Outstanding Student). And the students voted to award three separate honors: to Maurine Nicholson (Administrative Support Coordinator) and George Pease (Stockroom Manager) in recognition of their contributions to the department, and to Dr. Pascal Berrill for Outstanding Faculty member.

Week of: Apr 16, 2017

Faculty Dr. Kerri Hickenbottom and Dr. Leslie Miller-Robbie, Environmental Resources Engineering

Assistant professor Kerri Hickenbottom and visiting professor Leslie Miller-Robbie co-authored an article on a techno-economic assessment of a closed-loop osmotic heat engine published in the Journal of Membrane Science.
Full article:

Faculty Dr. Laura Johnson, Sociology

Dr. Laura Johnson, lecturer in Sociology and Environmental Studies, authored the cover story in the April 20th issue of the North Coast Journal, highlighting the environmental and socio-political power of Humboldt County’s community food system.
Full article can be found here

Student Jamal Jones, English

Jamal Jones (English major, graduating in May) has been promoted to head coach of the varsity football team and teacher at Arcata High School. Jamal’s achievement was recently recognized on KIEM-TV. View the full interview here:

Faculty Dr. Renée M. Byrd, Sociology

Dr. Renée M. Byrd was awarded a 2017-18 American Association of University Women Publications Grant to finish her book, “Punishment’s Twin: Carceral Logics, Abolitionist Critique and the Limits of Reform.”

Student Noemi Pacheco-Ramirez, Environmental Studies

Ms. Pacheco-Ramirez received a Young Adult Professional Scholarship to attend the Childhood Obesity Conference, the theme of which is “Good Health for All: Addressing where we Live, Learn, Work, and Play,” in San Diego in June. The goal of the scholarship is to “inspire, nurture, and motivate the younger generation to take an active role in influencing positive community change.”

Week of: Apr 09, 2017

Faculty Sarah Jaquette Ray, Environmental Studies

Dr. Ray co-edited two new books that have just been published: Disability Studies & the Environmental Humanities: Toward an Eco-Crip Theory (Univ. Nebraska Press), which builds the connection between the field of disability studies and the field of environmental humanities, and Critical Norths: Space, Nature Theory (Univ. Alaska Press), which pulls cross-disciplinary essays together to challenge dominant notions of the “North.”

Student Yaad Rana, Marcela Jimenez, and Joshua Martinez, Environmental Resources Engineering

For the last 16 years, student teams from the HSU Environmental Resources Engineering (ERE) department have participated in a four day long math modeling competition. The competition consists of the Mathematical Modeling Contest (MCM) and Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM) sponsored by the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP). Competing against nearly 17,000 teams from thousands of universities, each team produced a report summarizing their solution to one of six possible problems.

This year, a record six ERE student teams entered in the competition that began on Thursday evening, January 19 and ended on Monday evening, January 23. Four of the six ERE teams were awarded the score of Honorable Mention, with fewer than 12% of the other teams scoring higher, and approximately 50% of the other teams scoring lower. One team received a ranking of Meritorious Winners, with fewer than 1% of the teams scoring higher. Finally, the team of Yaad Rana, Marcela Jimenez, and Joshua Martinez received the highest ranking possible, Outstanding Winner. This team also received the Rachel Carson award and the Sigma Scholarship award which provides a $3,000 prize to each team member.

Student Gabriela Martinez, Jeremy Johnson, Charlotte Olsen, Catie Ledesma, Katie Fasbender, Troy Maloney, Caleb Hill, Alden Bradley, Erik Knutsen, Karlie Elliott, Kylie Reich, and Mario Sanchez, Mathematics

The Math Department had twelve students in four teams compete in the International Mathematical Contest in Modeling this January. Teams are challenged to analyze an open applied problem and to propose a solution using mathematical modeling over an intense four-day competition. All four of our teams were recognized by the judges as either Honorable Mention or Successful Participant for their papers.

The students were advised by Dr. Kamila Larripa (Math) and are listed below.

Gabriela Martinez
Jeremy Johnson
Charlotte Olsen

Catie Ledesma
Katie Fasbender
Troy Maloney

Caleb Hill
Alden Bradley
Erik Knutsen

Karlie Elliott
Kylie Reich
Mario Sanchez

Faculty Janelle Adsit, English

Janelle Adsit has received a Presidents’ Council on Underserved Communities (PCUC) Professional Development Award to attend the 2017 NASPA Closing the Achievement Gap: Student Success in Higher Education Conference in Washington, D.C. this June.

Faculty Armeda C. Reitzel, Kim Vincent-Layton, and Pamela Dougherty, Communication

Dr. Armeda C. Reitzel, Chair of Communication, was the lead presenter of an education session titled “Yes, you can teach public speaking online! The process of redesigning a face-to-face public speaking course into a successful fully online course!” at the Online Learning Consortium Innovate 2017 Conference in New Orleans, LA on April 6, 2017. Her two HSU instructional designers, Kim Vincent-Layton (via Zoom) and Pam Dougherty (onsite), joined her in discussing the highlights of redesigning the fundamentals of speech communication course into an award-winning online offering.

Faculty Rosemary Sherriff, Geography

Rosemary Sherriff co-authored a paper with three alumni, Kelly Muth, Madelinn Schriver, and Rebecca Batzel, in the Journal of Biogeography on spruce response to climate change in Southwest Alaska. Weblink:

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